Working to Make Equity in Education a Reality
Published in Annual Report - 2003
Research at Teachers College
Breaking Barriers in Knowledge and New Ideas
Professor Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
Tama Leventhal of the National Center for Children and Families
Professor Lucy Calkins of the Reading and Writing Project
Professor Xiaodong Ling
Professor Marla Brassard
Professor Sally Hage
Professor Michelle Knight
Rosalyn and Elliot Jaffe
Lilo and Gerard Leeds
Rev. James Forbes presents grant award to then Acting President Darlyne Bailey at Riverside Church.
Professors Stephen Thornton and Margaret Crocco
Professor Tom Sobol
Laraine Masters Glidden
Hon. Charles Rangel
Teachers College representatives with students and teachers in Tanzania
Professor Sharon Lynn Kagan
Professor Amy Stuart Wells
Arthur Levine and the Gottesman family.
Professor Jeff Henig
Professor Christopher Higgins
Burt Konowitz, Artistic Director of Spirit, the resident Teachers College Improv Ensemble, performs with jazz legend Billy Taylor in Horace Mann Auditorium.
Youth Activism conference participant
Alumnus Leslie Lo at CoCE Conference
Richard Colvin, Hechinger Institute Director
Professor David Hansen
Faculty as Researchers
The research pursued and published by members of Teachers College faculty continues to be the heart of our work. Their research contributes to policy, practice and curriculum across the disciplines of education, the arts and sciences, and psychology. Scholars and researchers at Teachers College are often named as leaders or Fellows in professional and academic organizations and receive countless recognitions, honors and scholarships. Their work is commonly cited by major research journals.
In September, the American Journal of Public Health published a major study by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Tama Leventhal of the National Center for Children and Families at TC. Their work examined the links between New York City neighborhoods and residents' health and behavior. The "Moving to Opportunities" project, as it was called, followed approximately 800 families that moved from lower-income, high-crime areas to neighborhoods that had more middle-class residents and safer schools. The study documented the benefits of better neighborhoods-social networks, resource referrals, job channels, child care, and surveillance systems for mothers-as well as the challenges experienced by families in adapting to their moves. This work has produced valuable information for researchers, community leaders and policy makers on the ways in which neighborhood and family resources intersect to provide or impede opportunities. The study indicated that moving children out of very poor neighborhoods often reduces emotional distress in those children and their families.
Lucy Calkins, whose work with TC's Reading and Writing Project has helped thousands of teachers develop more effective writing curricula, was named to hold the Robinson Chair in Children's Literature at TC. Through the Reading and Writing Project, Calkins leads an initiative serving more than 300 K-8 schools. The Chair in Children's Literature was established in 2001 by Richard Robinson, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Scholastic, Inc.
Calkins, who received her Ph.D. from New York University, has published extensively on the subjects of teaching and learning. Her books include Raising Lifelong Learners: A Parent's Guide
(Perseus); A Teacher's Guide to Standardized Reading Tests: Knowledge is Power
(Heinemann); The Art of Teaching Reading
(Allyn & Bacon) and The Art of Teaching Writing
While research by TC's faculty has engaged the diverse populations of local schools and neighborhoods, it also reaches across broad cultural and academic borders. Xiadong Lin, Associate Professor of Technology and Education, has broken ground in cross-cultural understanding. Lin's work studies the ways in which technology facilitates communication among teachers and students from different classes, races and cultures. In 2003, she was named a Carnegie Scholar for her study, "Images of Good Students and Good Classrooms: Enhancing Teacher Awareness of Their Own Student Cultural Beliefs."
Hands-On Teaching, With Heart
Helping young students experience science through the outstanding presentation of an engaging curriculum has become the focal point of Angela Calabrese Barton's work. Calabrese Barton, Associate Professor of Science Education, directs the Urban Science Education Center at TC. For more on how her hands-on approach is helping children to gain exciting new opportunities for academic success in this underserved area, see page 18.
Faculty Diversity Fellow Winners
Inclusion and diversity have been a cornerstone of TC's educational mission since the College was founded in 1887. Throughout the 20th century, Teachers College opened its classrooms to people of all races and backgrounds, and TC's faculty continues to lead the way in studying and celebrating diverse perspectives on culture and learning. For the 2003-2004 academic year, the Faculty Executive Committee's Subcommittee on Race, Culture and Diversity gave Diversity Fellowship Awards to:
Marla Brassard, Associate Professor of Psychology and Education, Department of Health and Behavior Studies, for "Needs Assessment of the South Asian Student Population at TC"
Sally Hage, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology for "Multicultural Competencies and Ethics in Psychological Counseling"
Michelle Knight, Assistant Professor of Education, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, for "Curricular Practices that Support Asian-American Youth and Their Families"
Rupal Patel, Assistant Professor of Speech and Language Pathology, and John Saxman, Professor of Speech & Language Pathology, Department of Biobehavioral Studies, for "Service Delivery Models of Speech
and Language Intervention for Children from Minority and Underrepresented Groups of Society"
Minority Postdoctoral Fellows
One of the ways Teachers College strengthens and supports scholarship among minority postdoctoral researchers is through its Minority Postdoctoral Fellows Program. For more about the research interests of the 2003-2004 academic year Fellows Belkis Suazo-Garcia and Maisha Fisher, see page 20.
Education as Social Justice
Improving the educational experiences of children in high-poverty schools is integral to the College's social justice work. This theme was carried forward at the 2003 Master's and Doctoral Convocation ceremonies. For more on the remarkable individuals honored at Convocation with Medals for Distinguished Service, see page 22. Billy Taylor, the renowned jazz musician, educator, and founder of the Harlem Jazzmobile, also received a TC medal. He came to Teachers College to receive the medal at a ceremony in November 2003. Taylor, who has played with jazz greats Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, also conducted a master class and performed for the College community.
Preparing the Next Generation
Leadership for the Teaching Profession
Students who attend the College today will be tomorrow's educational leaders. TC students and alumni are frequent contributors to research projects or activities that help transform their communities. Scholarships make it possible for them to complete their studies or work on projects that are driving them toward their future roles in education.
A Program to Retain Qualified Educators
One outstanding scholarship initiative, designed to support teachers going into the New York City public school system, was co-founded in 2003 by the Petrie Foundation and Teachers College. The scholarships, known as the Carroll and Milton Petrie New York City Teacher Fellowships, provide 50 awards of $50,000 each for tuition and living expenses at TC for teachers completing their master's degrees and certification requirements. Another 50 students, named Petrie Finalists, will receive partial scholarships and additional awards from the College to allay the cost of tuition. In all, the awards will help 100 students for the five-year length of the program.
The Petrie Fellowships were established in response to New York City's critical need to hire and retain highly qualified teachers. The lack of qualified candidates often forced school administrators to hire teachers with inadequate preparation or experience; meanwhile, well-qualified educators teaching in the city's public schools were experiencing a high "burnout" rate and, too often, quit by their third year of teaching. Petrie Fellows commit to teach in the Big Apple's public schools for a minimum of five years after graduating, and Teachers College will assist the Fellows and Finalists in finding teaching positions in NYC. As new teachers, they will participate in TC's New Teacher Academy to continue their professional development, and each will be provided a mentor from the faculty.
Veteran Educator Funds Challenge Grant for the Study of Urban Education
The need for creative, properly trained educators is timeless; this was apparent to Betty Fairfax, who, as a young African-American teacher in the 1940s, attended Teachers College. Fairfax, at 85 years young, has established a challenge grant at TC to give students of color the opportunity to "sharpen their skills and deepen their understanding of critical issues" in urban education, Fairfax said. The grant, called the Dean's Fund for Minority Student Professional Development, requires TC students to facilitate the involvement of Teachers College with minority and low-income pupils, their families and their schools, through support of projects designed to provide greater insight into the major issues faced by inner-city schools.
Peace Corps Fellows Program Gains New Support
Another way that Teachers College strengthens urban schools is through its Peace Corps Fellows program, established in 1985 to help former Peace Corps volunteers train and obtain certification to teach in New York City public schools. The program recruits as many as 50 returned Peace Corps workers each year to attend TC and pursue master's degrees. The Fellows can work toward degrees in one of five subject areas-bilingual education, math, science, special education, and teaching English to speakers of other languages. Nearly all the graduating Fellows go on to teach in hard-to-staff schools with critical shortages of qualified teachers, primarily in New York City. This important program received a half-million dollar gift from Elliot S. and Rosalyn Jaffe in 2003. The Jaffes also established a separate $900,000 scholarship endowment that will provide funding for Peace Corps Fellows scholarships.
Elihu Rose Scholar: Discussing the Linkages From Poverty to Peace
The belief that education can foster peace and prosperity is an unbreakable thread woven through the work of the College and its student body.
Tamo Chattopadhay, a doctoral student in International and Transcultural Studies and an Elihu Rose Scholar, sees a strong link between the conditions that encourage poverty and those that work against peace. Chattopadhay, who spoke at the 2003 TC Scholarship luncheon, described a school in Calcutta, where children learn to read and write while sitting on mats in the midst of the stench from a local garbage dump. The children and their two dedicated teachers, who earn only $20 a month, inspired him to come to Teachers College. He hopes to use what he learns at TC to help those children get better classrooms and resources for their school.
His dissertation research is about the policy of after-school programs for vulnerable, working children in Brazil, which has also led him to study these policies in New York City. "There is another profound connection I have made from my studies at TC: the link between poverty and peace," he said. "There is no doubt in my mind that a new generation of education and critical pedagogy has to weave a new culture of peace in every classroom, in every country. And it is my hope that one day, every citizen of the world, especially the little ones on the mat in the middle of the garbage dump, will enjoy the dignity and promises of the universal declaration of human rights."
The desire to "leave no child behind" is a universal one, whether a child is classified as learning disabled or is a member of a minority group. This concept was very much on the minds of students competing for the Diversity Fellowships in 2003. For more information on the recipients and their projects, see page 26.
Alumni Advance Life and Health of Women and Children
Alleviating conditions brought by poverty, war, and lack of education has been the life's work of TC alumnus Jill Wilkinson Sheffield, a long-time advocate and educator in the field of health for women and girls. Sheffield, a 1963 master's graduate in Comparative and International Education, is the founder and leader of Family Care International
(FCI), the first non-governmental organization to focus on maternal health and safe motherhood as part of its core mission. Sheffield was one of two remarkable
TC graduates to be presented with the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Awards.
Sheffield established FCI in
1986 to address a range of
urgent health issues within
the framework of a comprehensive, women-centered approach to reproductive health; this approach was endorsed by 179 countries at 1994's International Conference on Population and Development. FCI also works to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and to make comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, education and services available to adolescents around the world. Headquartered in New York City, FCI works with governments (primarily ministries of health and education), NGOs and international agencies. FCI's advocacy materials and messages have reached over 170 countries, and the organization has provided direct technical assistance to partners in more than 24 countries.
Betty J. Sternberg, the other alumnus to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2003, is the first woman to be named Commissioner of Education in the state of Connecticut. Sternberg, a 1972 master's graduate in Mathematics Education, was instrumental in creating Connecticut's much-praised program for mentoring new teachers.
Sternberg's career began in 1972, teaching elementary mathematics in San Jose, California. In 1975, she came to northwest Connecticut to begin work at a regional education service center, and in 1980 she joined the state Department of Education's Bureau of Curriculum and Staff Development. Sternberg went on to lead the Department's Division of Curriculum and Professional Development and, in 1992, she became Associate Commissioner, a post she held until being named Commissioner of Education in 2003.
The Early Career Award was presented to Frances McCue, a 2001 graduate who is co-founder and director of the Richard Hugo House, a literary center in Seattle. The mission of the Richard Hugo House is to build a vital learning community that develops and sustains practicing writers doing essential work, bringing innovative and effective writing education to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Educating Current Leaders
Practice and Policy In A Changing World
Through conferences, lectures and other forms of outreach, Teachers College provides leaders in educational practice and policy with
the latest information they need to keep abreast of developments
in the field.
$10.8 Million Gift Establishes The Academy For Excellent Teaching
In the past few years, much debate has focused on issues of quality in teaching. Calls for greater accountability in the teaching profession have gained momentum on the state and federal levels. TC's exceptional faculty and its commitment to professional development have made it a place where new and experienced teachers can acquire the necessary knowledge, insights and guidance to help meet higher standards and the challenges ahead.
The National Academy for Excellent Teaching (NAET) was established at Teachers College in 2003 through a $10.8 million gift from the Gerard and Lilo Leeds Fund-the largest single gift in the history of the College. NAET will provide professional development to teachers and principals serving predominantly high-poverty and underperforming students in secondary schools in New York City and across America.
With a commitment to involve all teachers in the participating schools, NAET will build five-year partnerships with each participating school by blending the best of on-site and online professional development, strengthened by school-based coaching. The goal is to improve student achievement in entire schools. NAET brings together TC faculty from many disciplines and engages them with teachers, principals and superintendents. The curriculum, which focuses on superior teaching as the key to increasing school achievement, is designed to improve underserved secondary schools in significant and measurable ways. Using New York City as its initial base, the Academy will work with 105 public high schools in its first six years.
Teacher Development Grant Aids Harlem Education Project
As part of a $10 million program of grants to the community, the Riverside Church's Jubilee Fund awarded $1.5 million to Teachers College for The Harlem Educational Renaissance Project, a professional development program for schools in former District 5 in Central Harlem (the schools are currently part of Region 10).
The Jubilee Fund bestows grants for initiatives focused on improving community development, public education, public health and youth outreach in Harlem and Morningside Heights. "In working with Teachers College and the public school system, we hope to spark an educational chain reaction that starts by planting the seed with teachers and continues to grow through the children," said Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister of The Riverside Church. "We hope other faith-based organizations will be inspired by our efforts and work to initiate similar programs that benefit the city's children and families." The partnership, Project: Harlem Educational Renaissance, will build teacher capacity in Region 10.
Helping Teachers Make the History Connection
In September 2003, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced that 114 school districts in 38 states would receive $98.5 million in Teaching American History grants, including Ocean Hill-Brownsville's Community School District 23, a low-income community of 116,800 located on the eastern edge of Central Brooklyn. The district is a traditionally underserved area composed mostly of African Americans, Hispanics and recent immigrants, especially from the Caribbean, Central America and South America. District 23 is partnering with TC Professors Margaret Crocco and Stephen Thornton, along with local historical groups, to provide professional development to elementary school educators in American history. Crocco is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Social Studies and Education at TC, while Thornton is Associate Professor of Social Studies and Education.
The new Teaching American History grant program supports three-year projects to improve teachers' knowledge, understanding and appreciation for American history through intensive, ongoing professional development. Projects must be in partnership with organizations that have extensive knowledge of American history, including libraries, museums, nonprofit history or humanities organizations and institutions of higher education. The program strives to help teachers master the body of American history knowledge covered by the New York Learning Standards and the Core Curriculum for the city's fourth, seventh and eighth grades.
Higher Standards for Superintendents and Principals
Superintendents Work Conference Draws Worldwide Enrollment
The nationwide push for higher standards and better performance in our classrooms impacts superintendents as well as administrators. Teachers College has offered a Superintendents Work Conference for the past 62 years; at the most recent Conference, TC's Tom Sobol, the Christian A. Johnson Professor of Outstanding Educational Practice and conference director, remarked that issues of leadership are more important now than before. "There is a widespread understanding that we cannot attain high standards by virtually all students without effective leadership," he said.
Each summer, about 50 school superintendents from the U.S. and abroad meet to strengthen their roles as leaders. Speakers at the 2003 Conference represented institutions that included the Columbia University History Department and School of Business, the National War College, WNET Channel 13 (a Public Broadcasting Station), and the Chancellor's office of the New York City public schools. "Our premise is that superintendents and those who work with them have something to learn from all these people in various spheres of activity," Sobol commented.
The Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished New York City Principals Summer Leadership Institute
Another "first" in 2003 was the beginning of the Summer Leadership Institute, an initiative of the Charles and Jane Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished New York City School Principals. Eighteen New York City school principals attended a two-week program as part of their participation as fellows in a two-year professional development program offered through Teachers College Innovations. The principals, selected through a competitive admissions process, are considered to be some of the most effective school leaders in the City. TC Innovations, a major outreach initiative at TC, is committed to developing partnerships with school systems to deliver high quality, effective, innovative and economical professional development programs.
Launched in 2003, the Cahn Fellowship Program offers a curriculum grounded in the study of leadership across cultures and organizations, and at the school level. This approach is designed to inform the practice of educational leadership at the local, national and international levels. The program provides opportunities for the fellows to reflect on their own leadership and create a vision of leadership for the future.
BookTalk lectures are among the College's most popular sponsored events, offering conversations with contemporary authors on topics of interest to the TC community and alumni. BookTalk is jointly presented by the Office of Alumni Relations, the Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation, and TC Press. The 2003-2004 academic year featured several authors on subjects ranging from new teacher retention to a study of the very successful National Writing Project. Even long-time BookTalk moderator Richard Heffner sat in the author's chair this year. For more, see page 32.
Through the generosity of donors, Teachers College presents lectures by the leading thinkers, scholars and authors in their fields. Periodically during the academic year, these outstanding speakers present their experiences and research on topics ranging from
psychology to the arts to teacher education.
James Garbarino, author of the book Lost Boys: Why Sons Turn Violent, spoke at the ninth annual Virginia and Leonard Marx Lecture on the subjects of bullying, harassment, and emotional violence. For more on his research and his presentation at Teachers College, see page 34.
Pedro A. Noguera, the Sussman Visiting Professor of Education, spoke about "City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education" at the third annual Sussman Lecture in November 2003. For more on Noguera's lecture, see page 37.
When one or more children with disabilities are part of a family, how does it affect family life? That is what Laraine Masters Glidden sought to determine through her research, which she presented at the fourth Leonard and Frances Blackman Lecture in April 2003. Glidden, who worked as a Research Associate for Professor Emeritus Leonard Blackman when he was on TC's faculty 30 years ago, gave a talk entitled "Positive Psychology and Rearing Children with Developmental Disabilities: Still Happy After All These Years?"
Glidden, who has written about families that adopt children with mental retardation, said she began to notice that personal narratives of families having children with disabilities were not comparable to the empirical literature on family adjustment and outcomes. The research indicated that the "stresses imposed far outweighed any benefit," she said. By 1993, however, she noticed a shift. "There has been a change in how we think about people with mental retardation and the services available to them and their families," she explained. In her study of both the birth families and the adopted families of children with developmental disabilities, Glidden reported that all parents rearing children with disabilities reported many positive outcomes. "We need
to study strength and resilience as much as stress and burden. We must learn to promote the positive as well as prevent the negative," she concluded.
Conferences That Foster Change
Waging Peace In Difficult Times
Learning how to be a peacemaker, whether in a large school district or within a single school building, was the subject of the fourth annual conference on conflict resolution at Teachers College. "The Art of Conflict Resolution: Waging Peace in Our Global Classrooms" brought together a diverse group of educators-from urban schoolteachers to suburban superintendents-for lessons, workshops and materials to assist them in applying peace education and conflict resolution skills in their professional lives.
The inspiration for the conference originated with Kate Unger, Founder and Director of the New Teacher Academy at TC. Earlier in her career, as an assistant principal at a troubled suburban high school, Unger was responsible for keeping the peace. Inspired by this experience, in 1999 she began a collaborative effort with TC's International Center For Cooperation and Conflict Resolution to jointly develop and sponsor a conference to teach conflict resolution.
In 2003, featured speaker Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) discussed the costs leading up to war in Iraq. He pointed out that as military expenditures continued to spiral upward, the government allowed education mandates to go under-funded. "If we look at education, we set the standards. But without the dollars, they can call it ‘No Child Left Behind,' but the money will be left behind. The way you kill a program is by having no money for it," he said. Rangel, a ranking member of the Committee on Ways and Means, is currently serving his 17th term as Representative for the 15th Congressional District.
TC Hosts Historic Youth
In conducting a project on youth engaged in antiracism work, Leanne Stahnke, a doctoral student in the department of Curriculum and Teaching, was struck by the lack
of research available on youth activism and by how youth were portrayed in the existing research as a generally incompetent and at-risk population. To challenge these portrayals, Stahnke and John Broughton, Associate Professor of Psychology and Education, organized a trailblazing
conference on youth activism.
The conference attracted about 150 participants who heard from a wide variety of presenters, including youth activists, organizers, teachers, filmmakers, spoken word poets and musicians. Panel discussion topics ranged from youth impact on public policy to youth-produced video to community organizing. Many young activists admitted feeling alienated and disenfranchised in their schools, while finding a more powerful education through their activist work with community organizations. The April 2003 conference highlighted the creativity of youth organizing and using diverse media as organizing tools.
While Teachers College is one of the highest-ranking graduate schools of education in the nation, the College plays a prominent role internationally, helping developing nations strengthen their teacher training capacities and education systems. Sponsoring conferences in the U.S. and abroad, TC trains international educators and fosters exchanges to develop a greater understanding of our relationship to the rest of the world.
A National Academy of Education in Afghanistan
It's a little-known fact that until 1978, Teachers College worked in Afghanistan to help that nation prepare its teachers and develop curriculum. One tragic legacy left by the Soviet invasion, followed by the Taliban regime and its overthrow, was an education system that needed to be rebuilt virtually from the ground up, including the training of teachers. For more on how TC is contributing to revitalizing the education system in Afghanistan, see page 38.
From Policy to Practice in Tanzania
After attending four preparatory classes-which included lessons in Swahili-ten TC students set off with Frances Vavrus to Tanzania in May 2003 to participate in a new course, "Reading Development Policy through Practice: Experiential Learning Program in Tanzania."
"The idea was to create an opportunity for students interested in development studies and African studies to go to an African country to see whether policies actually capture the realities that people go through," explained Vavrus, Assistant Professor of Education. Her former colleague Charles Moshi, who is principal of the secondary school where Vavrus taught in the Kilimanjaro area of Northern Tanzania, acted as the local coordinator for the course.
Two Tanzanian Form 6 graduates, the equivalent of freshman year in college in America, also assisted Vavrus. "That provided our students with a chance to talk to Tanzanians about what we were seeing, to have some cultural interpreters with us," Vavrus said. "My hope is that the students in our program who are future policy makers will develop policies that make sense with the conditions of life in Tanzania and other Third World countries." The development of this course was made possible by a Faculty Diversity Award from the Faculty Executive Committee's Subcommittee on Race, Culture and Diversity from the Office of Community and Diversity.
Going Global with Early Child Development
In an initiative that will potentially benefit millions of children worldwide, the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) at Teachers College is working with UNICEF to help a diverse group of developing countries identify and establish indicators of early child development. UNICEF selected Brazil, Ghana, Jordan, Paraguay, the Philippines and South Africa to participate. A number of other nations, including Turkey and Nepal, have expressed interest in the program.
NCCF is facilitating the development of psychosocial indicators in each country and an understanding of what can be measured, implemented and monitored in terms of what young children can be expected to know and be able to do. For the researchers and fellows
at NCCF, this project opens up invaluable opportunities to be involved in the global community of child development professionals and
policy-makers. TC's role in this effort is led by NCCF Co-director Sharon Lynn Kagan.
Contemplating the Future of Chinese Education
Researchers from as far away as Peking University were invited to Teachers College in 2003 for the first ever International Conference on Chinese Education. The conference examined critical issues confronting all levels of education in China. Researchers from more than a dozen universities in North America and Asia presented studies of China's educational system on topics such as financing higher education, providing equitable education and health insurance to minority groups in China, and effective methods of teaching mathematics.
The Center on Chinese Education (CoCE) at TC organized the
conference with support from the Lingnan Foundation and the
Henry Luce Foundation. "It was also an occasion to celebrate the approximately 100-year relationship between Teachers College and modern Chinese education," noted CoCE Director Mun Tsang. CoCE works to promote educational exchanges between the U.S. and China and trains educational leaders in the development of Chinese education.
Shaping the Public Debate
Presenting the Issues in Words and Actions
Wells Examines the Many Faces of School Choice Policy
In the five decades since the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education denied the legal basis for school segregation, states and districts across the country have generated an ever-expanding menu of school choice options, says Amy Stuart Wells, Professor of Sociology and Education.
As part of the Columbia Law School Race and Education Workshop Series, jointly presented by Columbia Law School and TC, Wells delivered a lecture entitled, "The Many Faces of School Choice Policy: Vouchers and Charter Schools Are Not the Only Choices." She provided a historical overview of school choice, the connections between that history and attempts to desegregate K-12 schools, and looked at the relative success of magnet schools compared to the largely unproven results achieved by the current wave of charter schools. As many as 20 percent of all urban students are enrolled in magnet schools, and it is those urban districts that are typically very innovative and creative, she added. Wells noted that, while many charter schools serve children of color, the evidence to date is mixed in terms of whether charters are fostering higher academic achievement and more accountability.
Rallying for Affirmative Action at The Supreme Court
In April 2003 a bus left Teachers College bound for Washington D.C., joining many other academic institutions in a rally at the U.S. Supreme Court supporting affirmative action in college admissions. For more on the rally and the court case, see page 42.
Henig Examines Choice in K-12 Education
The faculty at Teachers College does more than simply teach policy issues; they often are called to help inform or guide the direction of local and national policy. Jeff Henig, Professor of Political Science, was a member of the National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education, which published the results of a two-year study in November 2003.
The report, "School Choice: Doing It the Right Way Makes a Difference," details the good that can be done if school choice is well implemented, and the harm that can result if it is carried out quickly and on the cheap. It also recommends ample funding for charters and vouchers-making the case that this will help prevent segregation-and more autonomy for all schools to hire teachers on the basis of "fit." The report also questions the capacity of existing school districts to properly oversee choice. Currently there are approximately 2,700 charter schools educating nearly 750,000 children. The report indicates that there is a real possibility that choice, if handled astutely, would benefit children and improve schools.
Scholars Offer Perspectives on Academic, Social Issues
Each year the innovative Mellon Visiting Minority Scholars Program at Teachers College focuses on a theme or issue relevant to minority education. In 2003, the theme was "Uncoupling High Academic Achievement from Class, First Language, and Race." For more on the program and the 2003 visiting scholars, see page 45.
Informing Reporters about K-12 Schools
During the next three years, the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at TC will hold annual seminars for journalists who write about K-12 education. A $270,000 grant from the Broad Foundation is supporting this new effort, building on an already successful relationship with the Hechinger Institute that began in 2002 with a seminar on "The Ins and Outs of School Boards." Possible topics for the upcoming Hechinger Institute seminars to be supported with the Broad grant include urban schools, teacher unions, reading instruction, the principalship, suburban schools and school finance.
The Hechinger Institute is named after Fred M. Hechinger, the former education editor at the New York Times and a Trustee of the College. President Arthur Levine created the Institute in 1996 to encourage journalists to deepen their knowledge of education. The Institute organizes several annual seminars featuring top national experts, hosting reporters, editors or editorial writers from most major newspapers. In 2003, the Institute conducted nine seminars, the most ever in one year, in which more than 200 journalists participated. Of the ten events planned for 2004, five will be for regional audiences on the role of principals and superintendents in boosting academic achievement, a program supported by The Wallace Foundation.
Students Investigate Approaches to Education Policy
The influential and frequently groundbreaking research of TC's student scholars often helps shape and inform policy on a national level. One such study-looking at the ways economic and political influences shape states' early childhood policies-is being supported with the help of a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study is the dissertation of Elizabeth Rigby, a graduate research fellow at the National Center for Children and Families, and will examine the extent of and reasons for the tremendous variation among states' early care and education policy choices. The study will analyze the effects of states' political and economic environments on a range of state policy choices regarding early childhood care and education. The grant is administered by the Child Care Research Scholars Program, part of the Child Care Bureau within the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families.
Improving Practice in Education
The Call To Teach
The Philosophy and Education Program is making waves in New York City and beyond with a new curriculum that serves not only master's and doctoral students in philosophy and education, but also teachers and teacher candidates. Program Coordinator David Hansen and Christopher Higgins, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Education, initiated a renaissance in the historic program through a complete curriculum revision, new research and training initiatives, outstanding successes by students and more.
"We have deliberately conceived new courses with teachers and teacher candidates in mind," says Hansen, who was recently elected president of the national John Dewey Society. "We have planned the courses so that students can say: ‘This is a place for me to go for my foundations work. This is a place for me to go to develop my philosophy of teaching, to develop my vision of who I am as a teacher and why I want to teach.'"
Higgins' new course, The Call to Teach, illustrates the department's commitment to innovative curriculum. "We wanted to create an approach in which students could think about this 2500-year-old practice of teaching and ask themselves what ideals and motives draw them to the work and help sustain them through both good times and bad," said Higgins, who is president of the Middle Atlantic States Philosophy and Education Society.
Embracing Progress, Enhancing Achievement
Although Teachers College is one of the oldest established graduate schools of education in America, its legacy embraces progress and forward-thinking approaches to learning. The Third Annual Education Technology Summit, hosted by Teachers College, promised to show post-secondary education decision makers where the "rubber meets the road" for e-learning-and how advances in technology and curriculum design can enhance student achievement.
Irving Hamer, Professor of Practice in Education, said that the conference was important in helping to connect ideas, the best practices and the people in the field. "Practitioners require up to date information about the developments in educational technology. Equipment, approaches, and opportunities surface very quickly in the field and to stay current requires participation in meetings such as the Summit," Hamer said. "The convergence of practitioners, academics and business is unique and important to the future of education." Panel discussions and breakout sessions examined ways in which decisions and deployments, strategies and successes have been made in the e-education field. Attendees also participated in sessions on building school/home communities, best practices for assessing school performance, models of individualized instructions and other forces impacting educational technology.
News and Changes at Teachers College
The State of The College
Teachers College faces the future from a position of strength, academically and financially. Speaking at the 2003 State of the College Address, President Arthur Levine described the College's successful capital campaign, the largest ever by a school of education, which raised more than $150 million dollars (For more on the success of the campaign, see page 47.) In addition to benefiting academic programs, scholarships and facilities, capital funds have enhanced faculty recruitment and added seven endowed chairs. A 25 percent expansion of faculty in the past five years has brought to TC educators of exceptional quality and idealism. TC's student body is the best and brightest, drawn to the College's excellent programs from throughout the country and the world.
At the same time, the nation's state of affairs has brought new
and unexpected challenges to the education community in virtually every part of the country. The difficulties confronting states and
districts-state budget deficits that spur cuts to education programs; the imposition of new standards without funds to implement them; and the promotion of alternative routes to the teaching profession that diminish the role of education schools-affect all stakeholders in American education.
Levine told the audience that clear priorities are the key to maintaining excellence, and asked for cooperation in generating the community spirit and the more sharply defined set of objectives necessary to meet what lies ahead. He urged community members to work with him at Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world, "which is why this college was created and why so many of us came here to work and study." Remarks from Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean Darlyne Bailey identified five broad challenges facing the College: clarification of mission; crafting an educational community; improving the educational and social experiences of students; planning the financial future; and promoting TC's strengths on the local, national and international levels. Bailey discussed each area, the concerns each raises for the College, and the ways in which the College is already making progress on each front.
The Gottesman Libraries
Ruth Gottesman, who has earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. during her 50-year relationship with Teachers College, recently became the catalyst for the transformation of the Milbank Memorial Library into the beautiful, modern Gottesman Libraries. Gottesman, a 14-year member of the Board of Trustees, said, "My connection to TC has enhanced and enriched my life. I wanted to give back to TC, and my husband has made it possible for both of us to do so. We both loved the chance to support and participate in the library renovation."
Known for containing the world's largest and richest collection of materials on the education profession, the library is being redesigned into an entirely new state-of the-art center and dynamic resource for the TC community and the entire nation. "This library is going to become a major intellectual center-a place where students and faculty can come together to make history, not just study it. It will be a center for learning, not just a library that houses what we've learned," said President Levine at the groundbreaking ceremony. "The library will be a major global resource designed to improve education at all levels-a center for outreach for the entire world."
TC Web Site Redesigned
The Teachers College Web site, www.tc.columbia.edu, is a dynamic and much-used source of information and networking for TC faculty, students and staff. As the technology modernizes and improves over time, TC is keeping pace by upgrading and redesigning its Web site. The process began in the summer of 2003, with the reintroduction of the site planned for August 2004. In the interim, TC's Web staff has been offering updated electronic tools for faculty and staff, including a simplified process for updating individual faculty biographies and for uploading documents and papers to share with their students and the community. Additionally, members of the Computing and Information Services staff offer ongoing classes to train students, faculty, and staff to use a variety of software and Internet programs.
A Focus on Safety and Preparedness
Disaster preparedness is another significant type of training available to the TC community.
In 2003, Teachers College began a comprehensive review of how the College would respond in crisis situations, whether as a result of fire, electrical shutdown, terrorist attack or any other natural or human-made disaster. Each department in the College is evaluating its primary needs and developing a plan that incorporates physical safety, crisis communications and "business continuity management." The elements to be examined include backing up electronic data, contacting department members, evacuating the College and designating a "safety marshal" from within every department who would be willing to take responsibility for carrying out the department's plan.
Community engagement is a key component of making such plans viable, said Chief of Campus Safety & Security Tim Kingsley, who noted that TC faculty, students, and staff will have ongoing opportunities to learn safety procedures to help themselves and others through any crisis. The departmental plans will be incorporated into one College-wide plan that should be completed by September 2004.
Fulfilling Our Mission In a New Century
In an increasingly volatile world, how can one institution make a difference? Teachers College has already done it. Through its history of innovation in education, its forward-thinking policies of equity and inclusion, and its successful efforts to train teachers in America and around the world, Teachers College is the graduate school of education that constantly "raises the bar" in terms of quality and academic rigor. Our work spreads the light of knowledge to educate, heal and improve the world we share.previous page