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Today in History: Row v Wade 

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court passed a landmark ruling in the case of Roe versus Wade that recognized a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion without political interference. The court held that a set of Texas statutes criminalizing abortion in most instances …

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Today in History: Prohibition Becomes Law 

Ratified on January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibited the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes”. This law was influenced by the Temperance Movement, which began in the early 19th century -- a movement that started with the conservative use of alcohol but led to the campaign …

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Today in History: No Child Left Behind 

Highly controversial and consequential it proved over its lifetime, No Child Left Behind was signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002. This landmark legislation was co-authored by Representatives John Boehner (R-OH), George Miller (D-CA), and Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH), supporting standards-based education reform, where high standards and measurable …

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Today in History: The Euro Debuts 

Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, a decentralized, worldwide payment system, has been topping the news, but looking a little further back to milestones in economic and political history.... did you know that on January 4, 1999 the euro debuted as the new financial unit of eleven European nations (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, …

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Today in History: Apollo 8 Launches to the Moon 

This Fall the Gottesman Libraries took Teachers College members to Mars via the exciting launch of The Smith Learning Theater, the newly renovated fourth floor, whose funding was made possible by the generous gift of Camilla and George Smith. An immersive 70 minute experience, the Mars Mission introduced dynamic, highly collaborative learning and problem solving, with engaging connections to space, design, and …

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Today in History: The 10th Amendment Is Ratified 

December 15, 1791 marks the day when the Bill of Rights became law, for Virginia became the last state to ratify and make the first ten amendments part of the U.S. Constitution. The 10th amendment, in particular, stipulated, "Rights not given to the federal government or prohibited the state governments by the Constitution, are reserved …

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Today in History: The Great Smog 

On December 4, 1952, a high pressure mass descended on Thames River Valley, causing residents to burn extra fuel to offset sudden cold temperatures. Air pollution, namely smoke, soot, and carbon dioxide from industries, cars,and consumers, then caused extremely heavy smog to spread over hundreds of miles. Within a few days, it was so thick …

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Today in History: Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act 

The Education for All Handicapped Children's Act was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on November 30, 1975. This important legislation required all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education and one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities. In addition public schools were required to …

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Today in History: William Heard Kilpatrick Is Born 

William Heard Kilpatrick, major figure in the progressive education movement of the early 20th century, was born on November 20, 1871 in White Plains, Georgia. He was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he taught from 1912-1937, and he is considered one of the most popular professors ever at …

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Today in History: Founders Day at Teachers College 

Writes Dean William F. Russell, in "The Re-education of the Americans" (Teachers College Record, Volume 46 Number 2, 1944, p. 75-92), "The dedication ceremonies were difficult to attend. One either had to take the steam cars on the elevated to 110th Street and Central Park, the cable and horse cars on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, …

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Today in History: Sesame Street Debuts 

On November 10, 1969 Sesame Street debuted on public broadcasting stations. Conceived by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, this educational and entertaining television show, complete with puppets (known as Muppets designed by Jm Henson) living in a fictional New York City neighborhood, sought to prepare young children for school, by presenting the alphabet and …

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Today in History: Mary Swartz Rose Is Born 

In an article entitled, "Belief in Magic", Mary Swartz Rose opens with a description of the mystical Vale of Avalon, ancient abbeys, and wonder-working relics. She ponders a recently-built cathedral (Riverside, 1930) overlooking the Hudson, as she references Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick's assertion of "law-abiding world," despite our common belief in "magical faith", and then …

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Today in History: Barrel Ride Down Niagara 

Can you imagine riding down Niagara Falls... in a wooden barrel ... with a total height of 167 feet and three drops, and water flowing at the rate of 85,000 cubic feet to the second?! For thrill, fame, theatrics, beautiful views, sheer madness, or fascination with the morbid -- begging the question as to why …

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Today in History: Happy Birthday, John Dewey! 

Entering Zankel (formerly Main Hall) of Teachers College, we are greeted by the famous quote, "I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform." (from My Pedagogic Creed). And soon to our left, as we take a few steps up, we note Jacob Epstein's bust of John Dewey, presented to him by his …

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Today in History: Pledge of Allegiance is First Used in Public Schools 

Composed by Baptist minister and Christian socialist Francis Bellamy, the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag and the United States of America was first used on Columbus Day, October 12, 1892, in public schools as a way to express national solidarity and patriotism. It was designed to be quick and to the point. Congress …

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Today in History: Sputnik Is Launched 

Why has man always been fascinated with outer space, our solar system, and possibilities beyond Earth? What does exploration into planets other than our own tell us about ourselves, and how we choose to lead our lives? How can we best apply the lessons learned from space exploration to other significant contexts --  home, classroom, …

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Today in History: Integration at Central High, Little Rock 

On September 25, 1957, nine black students under escort by the U.S. Army entered Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was but three weeks earlier that then Governor Orval Faubus commanded the National Guard to prevent federal court-ordered racial integration in the schools-- only to have been overruled by Dwight Eisenhower who federalized …

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Today in History: Hull House Opens 

With the recent government decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other acts impacting immigration, it is important to look at historical efforts in our nation, the melting pot, that sought to ease the transition of immigrants. As we acknowledge the good work of pioneers in the field of education and social …

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Today in History: Violence over School Busing in Boston 

On September 12, 1974, violence erupted in Boston over racial busing. Angry white protestors hurled eggs, bricks, bottles, and other objects at buses carrying Afro-American children to recently de-segregated schools, following a court ruling in Morgan v. Hennigan, a class action lawsuit against the Boston School Committee on behalf of fourteen black parents and forty-four …

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Today in History: International Literacy Day 

Do you remember learning to read and write? Or perhaps using your first computer, laptop, or mobile device? Across the United States, the percentage of citizens who are able to read and write ranges from 65-85% (World Atlas, Average Educational Levels in the U.S. by State), while, according to the Pew Research Center, an estimated …

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