This lecture series, inaugurated in 1987, honors the memory of Cynthia Longfellow, SLC '72, Harvard Ed.D. '79, who devoted her professional life to bettering the lives of young children. The lecture is funded by an endowment established by family and friends.
2013 Longfellow Lecture
Looking Out for Josie: Witnessing the Hopes and Problems of Progressive Education
Friday April 5, 2013
Joseph Featherstone is a poet, writer, and educator. Education Week once cited him as one of the 100 most influential educators of the twentieth century. Featherstone has taught at Harvard and Brown universities. For many years, he wrote on literature, politics, and education as an editor of the New Republic. In 1968, he was a speech writer for the anti-war presidential candidate, Senator Eugene McCarthy, and has been active in progressive political and school reform movements since the 1960's. He served as the Principal of the Commonwealth School in Boston. For over a decade, he was the faculty leader at Michigan State University (MSU) of one team in a school-based teacher education program ranked number one in the nation by US News and World Report. Featherstone had special responsibility for creating the introductory course on child study, progressive teaching practice, and children’s literature to prospective teachers. For the last few years he has been part of a group launching a K-8 charter school with an arts orientation that has just finished its third year in Gloucester, MA.
He is the author of many books and articles on education, including Dear Josie: Witnessing the Hopes and Failures of Democratic Education, which had the honor of being chosen for translation as a distinguished contribution to education by the East China Normal University Press. He is one of several co-authors of Transforming Teacher Education, Reflections from the Field, a first-hand account of the ambitious reforms at MSU in teacher education. A poetry collection, Brace’s Cove was published by New Issues Poetry, 2000. A sampling of recent poetry is in Salt and Light, a 2010 Gloucester anthology edited by John Ronan. His many poems and literary and political writings have appeared in such varied publications as the Harvard Review, Ploughshares, The New Republic, Green Mountains Review, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Many Mountain Moving.
Previous Longfellow Lectures
2012 Longfellow Lecture
Early Childhood Development in the US: Looking Back and Moving Forward
Joan Lombardi, PhD
Wednesday April 4, 2012
Over 200 students, faculty, staff, community members, and visitors from as far away as Hawaii filled Reisinger Auditorium on the Sarah Lawrence College campus on April 4th to hear Dr. Joan Lombardi present the Child Development Institute’s 2012 Longfellow Lecture "Early Childhood Development in the US: Looking Back and Moving Forward."
Dr. Lombardi, a leading expert on child development and social policy, drew upon her vast knowledge and experiences serving under all three Democratic presidents since Lyndon Johnson (whose domestic policy agenda laid the groundwork for some of the programs she has overseen including Head Start) to describe the state of early childhood education and care available across the country and in the context of the rest of the world.
Child development research and practice has led to significant policy shifts in the U.S. such as the integration of early learning, health, nutrition, and mental health, and family support and child protection in early childhood programs as well as the creation of program frameworks built on the understanding that learning begins at birth rather than when children start school. However, there continues to a disconnect between scientific research and the realities children in the U.S. face on a regular basis.
Although US public spending on children and average incomes rank among the highest in the world, second only to Luxembourg, the US ranks among the poorest in the world when it comes to the care of the very young 1. While in most industrialized countries access to early childcare is a right from age three, the US has no consistent approach to childcare for pre-school children. One in five US children lives in poverty 2. Child poverty rates in the US among preschool children are more than double the international average 3. As Dr. Lombardi pointed out to more gasps from the audience, the United States and Somalia are the only two countries that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the child, the international treaty that recognizes the human rights of children.
Dr. Lombardi remains hopeful charging members of the audience to not be complacent, "Change comes when a room full of people such as this discovers the facts and demands more for our children and it all starts with the very young."
Among her many positions, Dr. Lombardi has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and External Affairs in Administration for Children and Families and as the first Commissioner of the Child Care Bureau. Her publications include Beacon of Hope: The Promise of Early Head Start for the Nation’s Youngest Children and Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families and Build Communities.
1 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEDC)
2 National Center for Children in Poverty
3 The State of America’s Children 2011 Report by the Children’s Defense Fund
- 2011: Rethinking Common Assumptions about Children (and Parenting)
- 2010: The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's
Temple Grandin, PhD
Read a feature story on Grandin's visit and watch the video»
- 2009: Nature Deficit Disorder: The Movement to Connect Our Children, Ourselves, and Future Generations to the Natural World
- 2008:The Impact of Abuse and Neglect on the Developing Child: Relationships, Resilience, and Vulnerability
Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
- 2007: Cultural Aspects of Learning: Observation, Collaboration, and Multimodal Conversation
Barbara Rogoff, Ph.D.
- 2006: Teaching as Political Work: Courageous and Caring Teachers
Sonia Nieto, Ph.D.
- 2005: America's Move to Universal Preschool Education
Edward Zigler, Ph.D.
- 2004: Violence and Education: The Twin Crises Facing America’s Children
Geoffrey Canada, M.Ed.
- 2002: In Schools We Trust: What Kind of Schooling Nourishes Democracy?
Deborah W. Meier, M.A.
- 2001: Children on the Cultural Front Line
Roger A. Hart, Ph.D.
- 2001: Eager To Learn: Educating our Youngest Children
Barbara T. Bowman, M.A., D.H.L.
- 1999: Standards and Assessment vs. The Magic of Childhood
Herbert Kohl, M.A.
- 1998: World View and Education Change in School
Asa G. Hilliard, III, Ed.D.
- 1997: Leveling with Children in a Complex World: A View from a Feminist Scholar
Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D.
- 1996: The Science and Politics of Child Poverty
J. Lawrence Aber, Ph.D.
- 1995: Community and Kinship in the Classroom
Vivian Paley, M.A.
- 1994: The Strains on American Families
Benjamin Spock, M.D.
- 1992: The Unschooled Mind
Howard Gardner, Ph.D.
- 1991: Educating for Humanity
Kenneth B. Clark, Ph.D.
- 1990: Child Abuse and Truth Telling
Albert J. Solnit, M.D.
- 1989: The Changing Faces of Fatherhood
Ross Parke, Ph.D.
- 1988: "Food & Vitamins": Providing Language Environments for Children
Courtney Cazden, Ph.D.
- 1987: Fifty Years of Seeing Children Around the World
Lois B. Murphy, Ph.D.