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1837 - 1902

Colonel Francis Wayland Parker, an associate of John Dewey, assumed the role of Principal of the Cook County Normal School in 1883. The training of teachers, he felt, was the best means of spreading the gospel of activity and freedom-freedom for both students and teachers. In his eighteen years as principal, he built a faculty that was not afraid to experiment or to introduce innovations. Most of all, he built a faculty greatly interested in childhood education.

He eschewed rote memorization, whether it was arithmetic, the alphabet or spelling. Addition and subtraction was taught practicing measuring with a 12 inch ruler. He maintained that getting the answer right was not enough if the child does not know what the answer signified. He went on to say that "Ontogeny" or the development of the individual child recapitulates Phylogeny, or the evolution of the human race. Put another way, he maintained "the way we teach our children will determine the fate of human kind".

Return to The Cook County Normal School.


Chicago Teachers College North
1896 - 1965

Illinois Teachers College North
1965 - 1967

Northeastern Illinois University Today
1967 - Present


This site was created by James McDunn.  Information within this site was taken from the writings of Jerome Sachs, Ph. D,
Melvin George, Ph. D. and Duke Fredericks, Ph.D.  Photos compliments of The NEIU Archives.    2000  James McDunn