The Past is Prologue: Students Old and Young Embody Our Heritage
Published in TC Today - Volume 30, No. 2
The current issue of TC Today is about continuity and change. It t ells the story of a persistent and consistent commitment to educational equity by Teachers College that spans more than a century--a dedication that provided the rationale for creating the College and continues today through our Campaign for Educational Equity.
More specifically, it reflects the evolution of that commitment from 110 year-old alumna and former teacher Maybelle Stansfield Montgomery to current doctoral student Dan McVeigh. When I was interviewed for this issue, I recalled my feeling of being awestruck at being named President of Teachers College, a place where John Dewey and all the academic giants who followed in his wake walked the halls. Maybelle Stansfield Montgomery walked the halls with Dewey and blazed her own path thereafter. Hers is a career that changed the lives of thousands directly and affected the many thousands her students in turn touched. Ms. Montgomery epitomizes what Teachers College stands for.
The story of Dan McVeigh is one of potential and promise. He has launched a project that he calls "Young McDonald's Farm," which combines computers, animation and trips to rural New Jersey to teach kids in the Bronx about science, math, ecology and much more. He is tackling two major problems in education. The teaching of science in the nation's public schools is poor. Children are rarely excited by the subject, which is removed from their real-world experience and consists largely of memorizing facts and formulas. Young McDonald's Farm combats both problems by giving kids hands-on ownership of the learning process and ensuring that they are invested in its success.
Finally, this issue reports on TC's first annual Symposium on Educational Equity, held this past October. For this event, ground- breaking papers were commissioned from America's most eminent scholars, on the costs of educational equity-- ranging from taxes and healthcare to prisons and jobs. The costs are extraordinary, larger than most of us ever imagined. The symposium provided a comprehensive view of the problem to scholars, policy makers and the public. It also served as the real debut of The Campaign for Educational Equity. Both are contributions that should stand the country in good stead for many years to come.