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TC Testimonials: Alumni, friends and admirers reflect on the College

“Over the years Teachers College has enriched our community by putting forth a prestigious standard of education and teaching by preparing the next generation of leaders in education. Your institution does truly wonderful things, as one great teacher creates a future of great scholars. I am proud that your institution has taken a leadership role in ensuring that schools are reformed and restructured to welcome all students regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.”
  —Charles B. Rangel
  Member of Congress

“As a true pioneer in a range of fields – including educational psychology, urban education, gifted education, conflict resolution, arts education, nutrition education, and international and comparative education–Teachers College has helped pave the way for  a better and broader understanding of health, education, leadership and psychology.”
  —Julie Underwood
  Dean, University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education

“You’re almost all planning to devote your lives to community-building work, and you’re exactly the kind of people I always run into when I’m at events that involve folks getting together at a non-profit-making, non-social-climbing activity – the kind of things that form the spine of every neighborhood in every city, from block fairs to tenant meetings. I believe that is in your DNA, and my one call to you is to keep that up.”
  —Gail Collins
  New York Times columnist
  (Speaking at Teachers College’s commencement May 2010)

“Since its founding in 1888, TC has been in the forefront of every major  movement, issue and conflict in American education. You embraced the notion of rigorous and thorough professional education for teachers, and during the past half-century you have been a world leader in advancing that profession. To paraphrase Lawrence Cremin, a great TC scholar, you have helped the nation to imagine alternative futures.”
  —Michael J. Feuer
  Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development
  and Professor of Education,
  The George Washington University

“I don’t know if Teachers College is aware of the influence and the impact they had on shaping education for African Americans across the South during the days of segregation, discrimination and civil rights. I don’t know if there is any way for them to measure the impact and influence they had. They trained teachers, guidance counselors, principals, assistant principals – you name it.”
  Reverend Dr. William Epps (M.E. ’70)
  Senior Pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles

“When I left Namibia, South Africa
  had imposed upon Namibia racial education called Bantu education, basically saying that blacks cannot really master intellectual kinds of challenges. All the professions were locked out. So as young people, we were determined to prove this wrong. We wanted to understand the processes of learning and of teaching curriculum, organization, design, development and so on. I came  [to Teachers College] because I wanted to learn to understand deeply the issues surrounding education so I could challenge the theories of  apartheid, and I am happy that going back to independent Namibia I was leading the team. We dismantled the racial education system.
  —Nahas Angula (M.A. ‘78, Ed.M. ‘79)
  former Namibian Prime Minister and Minister of Education,
  and currently the nation’s Minister of Defense

“To get my certification, I came to Teachers College, which I thought, and still do, was the best. And I got involved with all sorts of wonderful people. There has been somewhat of a controversy between methodology and subject matter teaching in the preparation of teachers, and I come down on the subject matter side–but understanding that if you don’t have some courses in methodology, too, and you don’t understand students and how they work, you’re not going to be a great teacher, no matter how much you know your subject. At Teachers College… they understood even at that time that that was the combination that was needed.”
  Thomas Kean (M.A. ’63)
  former Governor of New Jersey, former Chair of the 9/11 Commission,
  former President of Drew University

“My first real glimpse of what Teachers College is and does occurred not here in New York City, but in Washington, D.C., where I lived at the time and where one of my children had transferred into a first grade classroom in another school to avoid the truly terrible teaching that was literally making her sick. The teacher, who was in her very first year of teaching, not only had created a classroom that any mother would want to send her child to, but she also had a skillful eye and the knowledge base to figure out within weeks that my daughter was severely dyslexic. And she taught her to read without ever being labeled or stigmatized, and she instilled in her a lifelong love of books and learning that has led my daughter to become a literacy teacher working with special-needs students. One day I asked this teacher how she had to learned to do this miraculous work as a brand-new teacher. And she told me she had learned to be this kind of teacher at Teachers College.”

Linda Darling-Hammond
  Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education,
  Stanford University Graduate School of Education,
  and former Teachers College faculty member
  (Speaking at Teachers College’s commencement in May 2011)

“At a time early in our  nation’s development of common schools, the creation of a significant institution of higher education devoted entirely to the study and improvement of education represented a seriousness about the enterprise that bears enormous  significance to us today. From the 21st century perspective, the example set by Teachers College inspires all of us to continue to work to carry out the core mission of education schools. .”
  —Deborah Loewenberg Ball
  Dean and William H. Payne Collegiate Pr0fessor and Arthur F. Thurnau
  Professor School of Education, University of Michigan

“Since your founding in 1887, Teachers College has become known not just as the oldest and largest school of education, health and psychology in the U.S., but also as a leading light in global education and innovation. In always striving to meet society’s needs and anticipating the future, Teachers College has established itself in numerous key fields — including educational psychology, urban education, gifted education, conflict resolution, arts education, nutrition education, international and comparative education, and special education. In particular, your expertise in curriculum development and innovation is well regarded internationally.”
  —Lee Sing Kong
  Director, National Institue of Education, Singapore

“Teachers College gave me  an abiding respect for the practice and the tradecraft of teachers and administrators who diligently search for what works. Teachers College gave me a framework for policy and a vision for the importance of education in a free society. Teachers College opened the door for working in the company of practitioners and policymakers in states around the nation.”
  —Richard Mills (Ed.D. ’77)
   former New York State Commissioner of Education

“There was an atmosphere of intellectualism [at TC] that I had never experienced. I had never experienced leaving a classroom and racing to the library to make sure I got the book first. And we’d all do the same thing, so whoever could run faster would get the books. And every class was intellectual.  I didn’t have one wasted moment here. You had your head opened, your mind opened – it was the most exciting intellectual experience anyone could have wished for.”
  —Claire Fagin (M.A. ’51)
  former Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing;
  former Interim President of the University of Pennsylvania

“Since your beginnings in 1888 as the New York College for the Training of Teachers,generations of your graduates have gone on to change the world – locally, nationally and globally. From the groundbreaking programs in nutrition education and educational policy to innovative programs in teacher education, Teachers College has remained true to its mission of advancing the field of education.”
  —Andrew C. Porter
  Dean, George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education

“Teachers College influenced my own education in quite a direct and personal way. This requires little historical detour. In 1911, a group of parents from Buffalo, New York traveled to New York City to meet with John Dewey and to observe, at his urging, a teacher at the Horace Mann School named Mary Hammet Lewis. Lewis later recalled, “I was almost immediately struck by the fact that here were visitors of a different type from those I had been used to seeing. They were not the least interested in the teacher and her plan of work. They were fascinated by the children and their activities.” The parents persuaded Lewis to move to Buffalo, where she founded the Park School of Buffalo in 1912. The school became quite well known for its progressive methods, hosting visitors from around the country and the world. Lewis’s book An Adventure with Children (1928) records her experiences with the children of Park School over a 12-year period and has recently been re-issued as park of Park’s own centennial celebration. I hope it is part of the Teachers College library collection!

“I attended Park School on a scholarship in the early 1960s, where I found the spirit of Mary Hammett Lewis (and John Dewey) alive and well. I experienced a school that nurtured individual interests and talents while forging a lively and robust community. In many ways, my experiences at Park shaped my sense of what a school can be, and I remain closely connected to the school and to my former classmates.”
  —Judith Warren Little
  Dean, Graduate School of Education, Carol Liu Professor of Education Policy
  University of Califronia-Berkeley

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