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Education and Hope

In a harsh world, learning offers the best hope for change.

Dear Friend,

If education accomplishes anything, it is to give people hope. Hope for advancement, hope for understanding and, ultimately, hope for a better world.

This issue of TC Today offers three stories about the power of education to create hope.

The cover story, on TC alumnus and former trustee Thomas Kean, is about hope for learning from the brutal lessons of 9/11. Kean led five Democrats and four other Republicans in a remarkable effort to uncover the facts of the terrorist attacks and develop sweeping recommendations for improving national security. The ability of the Commission members to work together, and their vision in addressing not only technical security matters but also American foreign diplomacy, are a reflection of the chair's influence as an educator and his belief in consensus and inquiry. Tom Kean is one of America's most distinguished statesman-a powerful voice for bridging the ideological split that divides our country's two major political parties.

The story about the Cahn Fellows-35 New York City school principals whom Teachers College has brought together for advanced management training-is about hope for excellence and idealism in a city that sometimes seems to grind those qualities under its boot-heels. The Cahn Fellows are the best of the best people who have already done inspired work in their own institutions. We hope that, by working together, they can serve as a model for all New York City principals.

And finally, there is a story of new hope at Teachers College itself. After 10 years during which we have enhanced our academic offerings, expanded our faculty, strengthened our finances and upgraded our campus, TC is now focusing its efforts on working to close the gap in access to quality education, expectations for children and classroom achievement that is leaving the nation's low-income, minority and inner-city students behind. I believe this is the most important issue facing education today-the equivalent of AIDS or cancer in medicine. If we succeed, even a little, we will improve the lives of millions of American children. The opportunity to make such a difference is the reason most of us chose careers in education.


Arthur Levine

Published Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2005