At TC's Convocation, Honoring Champions of Equity
Published in Commencement
Andres Alonso, CEO of Baltimore City Schools, spoke and received his medal at the first of two master’s degree ceremonies on Tuesday, May 17th. Alonso, who arrived in the United States at age 12 from Cuba, speaking no English, holds four Ivy League degrees. In his late 20s, he left a promising law career to teach in Newark, and eventually became deputy chancellor of New York City’s public school system. Three years ago, he accepted the top schools post in Baltimore, where more than four-fifths of all students live in poverty and the school system has long been known as one of the nation’s most dysfunctional . Under his leadership, students across all categories have achieved their highest-ever outcomes on state exams, highest-ever graduation rate and lowest-ever dropout rates. Baltimore’s dropout rate has fallen by half, and for the first time in decades, the city’s public school system is gaining students instead of losing them.
Bob Herbert, who recently left the New York Times after a long run as one of its leading columnists, spoke and received his medal at the second master’s degree ceremony, also on May 17th.
Herbert is the author of the 2005 book, Promises Betrayed: Waking up from the American Dream. Before joining the Times, he served as a city editor with The Newark Star-Ledger, held a number of positions with The Daily News and was also a television news commentator. The journalist T.A. Frank has called him “the only national columnist at a major newspaper who consistently writes about the issues in our country that matter most yet seem to be covered least. “
In 2007, Herbert served as moderator at TC’s launch of its social studies curriculum “Teaching The Levees.”
Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, spoke and received the TC medal at the doctoral hooding ceremony on Wednesday, May 18th. Darling-Hammond, who taught for many years at Teachers College and is also a former president of the American Educational Research Association, is known as a leading architect of whole school reform and changes in teacher education. A former public school teacher, she has founded a charter school in one of the nation’s poorest communities that sends 90 percent of its students to college. At TC, where your work remains a touchstone, you co-founded the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching, which has conducted pioneering analyses of successful schools. And through the School Redesign Network at Stanford, you have developed, implemented and evaluated new school models across the country. Under her direction in the late 1990s, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future built a national coalition of states that made sweeping changes to teacher education. Education Week ranked the commission’s report, “What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future,” among the most influential research studies affecting American education, and named Darling-Hammond among the decade’s 10 most influential people affecting U.S. education policy.
Darling-Hammond also served as education advisor to Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election, memorably debating her counterpart in the McCain campaign on the stage of Teachers College’s Cowin Conference Center.