Why Teachers College?

Five reasons to support the nation’s first and largest graduate school of education

The TC story begins with impact—strengthening families, schools and communities, in New York City and around the world.

The name of our campaign, Where the Future Comes First, underscores what sets us apart from other institutions: We don’t just help improve the world—we launch new fields of inquiry and modes of practice, transform schools, foster the physical and psychological health of communities, and help nations bring the best ideas to scale.   

TC created the blueprint for modern schools of education and the modern, inquiry-based pre-K-12 classroom. It was the birthplace of education psychology, comparative education, nursing education, nutrition education, special education, urban education, gifted education and conflict resolution. In recent years we have added to that track record by launching the world’s first programs in spirituality and psychology, learning analytics, diabetes education and management, and more. 

All of these efforts have been in the service of building a more just and equitable world. Teachers College was founded in the late 19th century to educate immigrant children and their families. At the heart of its philosophy was the recognition that education must build on what learners already know; reaffirm and strengthen their homes and communities; and equip them to compete on an equal footing in school and life. TC created one of the nation’s first community schools, served as the primary destination for aspiring black teachers from southern states whose education schools would not grant them admission, and helped shape modern systems of education in developing nations around the world. Today, our Office of School and Community Partnerships works with a network of public schools in Harlem, anchored by our own Teachers College Community School; our Campaign for Educational Equity focuses national attention on the resources needed to ensure children's right to a sound, basic education; and we are partnering with an array of nations that includes Brazil, China, India, Jordan and Pakistan. While our goal in these countries is to help increase local capacity in education and health, we learn as much from these collaborations as we impart.

No other graduate school of education can rival our breadth of expertise, perspective and talent.

Since our founding, the leading minds in education, psychology and health have worked together at TC to address the world’s most pressing challenges. Today the best and brightest students come to TC from around the world to learn, discover and lead; our world-class faculty—including more than 70 hired during the past decade—are leaders in a wide range of fields that includes public policy, technology development, nutrition, nursing, early childhood development and neuroscience.

The TC community comprises a rich diversity of cultures, perspectives, ideas and experiences that forms the most fertile ground for innovation. During the past year alone we have launched new programs in Latina/o Mental Health and Sexuality Women & Gender, and revamped two of our flagship centers, the Institute for Urban & Minority Education and the George C. Bond Center for African Education. 

We strive for a constant exchange between theory and practice. 

At TC, our students learn from our extraordinary faculty—including phenomenal teacher-scholars who are creating a new understanding of how poverty affects brain development; how human beings respond to emotional loss and trauma; how toddlers learn and employ “everyday math”; and how hiphop can help high school students learn physics.  But the learning flows both ways. Our graduates on the front lines in education, health and psychology constantly reshape our teaching and research, keeping us on the cutting edge. TC has produced leaders such as Carl Rogers and Albert Ellis in psychology; Shirley Chisholm and Thomas Kean in the realm of policy; Lawrence Cremin and Diane Ravitch in education; and Joan Gussow in health and nutrition. Today our 90,000 alumni include leaders in every field and at every level.

We are innovators, informed by the wisdom of the ages.

More than a century ago, TC’s great philosopher, John Dewey, argued that education must be a hands-on process in which learners inquire and discover in order to make sense of their own experience. Today, advances in fields such as technology, cognition and neuroscience are enhancing learning in precisely the ways envisioned by Dewey and other TC thinkers.

TC stands at the forefront of these efforts. Our bio-behavioral scientists are demonstrating the links among environment, experience and brain development. Our psychologists are revealing the incredible learning capacity of even the youngest toddlers.  Our technology specialists are creating and applying interactive tools such as touch tablets, X-boxes, Wiis, Kinects and joysticks to level the playing field for learners of all backgrounds and deepen learning by grounding it in physical movement and sensation. Our teaching experts are harnessing these tools in new learning environments, both online and in the classroom, that promote collaborative projects and group inquiry and discussion. And our quantitative researchers are shaping new fields such as learning analytics, which harness data generated by online tools to help teachers, superintendents and policy makers improve student outcomes.

So why TC—and why now?

Because our story is just beginning. We are preparing and empowering tomorrow’s leaders; forging new fields; and envisioning a smarter, healthier and more equitable world.  

Another great TC philosopher, the late Maxine Greene, declared that, “It is through imagination that we become wide awake to possibilities.”

Join us in our historic Campaign, and build the future—today.