Skip to main content

Afternoon Shift

Barbara Bowman on lessons learned inside and outside the classroom

Previous Next

(Still from video)
“My mom was perhaps my best teacher,” senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett explains in a Department of Education video.

“She said, 'Throughout the course of your life, you’re gonna have many choices of the paths that you take. Don’t take the easy path. Take the one that’s gonna challenge and that’s gonna push you to improve each and every day.'”  

It seems that Barbara Bowman, Jarrett’s mother, has taken her own advice to heart. Bowman is one of the leading authorities on early childhood education, and she’s spent almost 50 years working in the field.

Bowman’s accomplishments are many. They range from co-founding a graduate school for early childhood development to serving as a consultant to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. She’s also played an important role at Chicago Public Schools, where she’s served as chief early childhood education officer for the past eight years.

At the end of June, Bowman will leave her job with Chicago Public Schools. The 83-year-old doesn’t seem to be slowing down, though. She plans to keep teaching at the Erikson Institute, which she co-founded in 1966.

On Tuesday, as Bowman prepares to leave her role with CPS, she joins Afternoon Shift to teach us more about her life and the lessons she’s learned inside and outside of the classroom.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.