Bringing Teacher Education to the University

  • Education
  • 1880

Amid massive changes in Americans’ educational needs in the late nineteenth century, the teaching profession came under scrutiny. Skilled educators were in short supply, and many observers were questioning how teachers were trained. Philanthropists undertook direct action. Perhaps the most significant act was Grace Dodge’s decision in 1880 to establish the Kitchen Garden Association. Though initially created to teach domestic skills to New York’s poor, several years later it would evolve into the New York College for the Training of Teachers, precursor to Teachers College at Columbia University. Dodge served as the first treasurer and provided crucial financial support. Teachers College took on a particular mission to properly educate the children of the poor, and it was influential. By 1900 one fourth of colleges and universities were providing some form of professional education for teachers, a fraction that rose as the twentieth century wore on.

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