ⓘ John L. Childs

John L. Childs

ⓘ John L. Childs

John Lawrence Childs was a 20th-Century American educator, disciple of John Dewey, and author of The Educational Frontier who taught at Teachers College of Columbia University and took part in the progressive New York movement from the 1930s to the 1960s.


1. Background

John Lawrence Childs was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a Journalism degree in 1911. He also began working with YMCA then.


2. Career

From 1912 to 1915, Childs headed YMCAs Midwest chapter in Kankakee, Illinois. In 1916, he worked in Peking, China as a YMCA missionary. John Dewey stayed at Childs home during his own visit to China. In 1922, Childs returned to the U.S. In 1923, he began graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary UTC: one of his professors at the Teachers College was W. H. Kilpatrick. In 1924, he went back to China. In 1927, he returned to States to study for a doctorate.

In 1931, Dr. Childs joined the faculty of Teachers College. In 1935, he became associate professor and, in 1938.

In 1935, Childs also joined the American Federation of Teachers AFT but in 1937 resigned due to rise in Communist influence. His departure followed election of Jerome Davis, a colleague at UTC and in YMCA.

In 1944, he was elected state chair of the Liberal Party of New York. On January 5, 1947, he resigned to give more time to his job as director of education at Columbias Teachers College. At the time of his resignation, the Liberal Party of New York was expected to become the political agency of Americans for Democratic Action, whose formation was announced days before Childs resignation.


3. Works

  • America, Russia, and the Communist Party in the Postwar World with Georges Counts 1943
  • Education and the Philosophy of Experimentalism 1931
  • American Pragmatism and Education: An Interpretation and Criticism 1956
  • Education and Morals: An Experimentalist Philosophy of Education 1950

4. External sources

  • Teachers College Record
  • Dennis, Lawrence 1992. From Prayer to Pragmatism: A Biography of John L. Childs. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Dennis, Lawrence. "John L. Childs 1889-1985". Education Encyclopedia.
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  • LPs of 72 Child Ballads sung by Ewan MacColl and A. L Lloyd were released: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Vols. 1 - 4. In 1960 John Jacob Niles