MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and veteran school reformer, Deborah Meier, returns to Constructing Modern Knowledge 2013 for the third time!
Deborah W. Meier is currently on the faculty of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, as senior scholar and adjunct professor as well as Board member and director of New Ventures at Mission Hill, director and advisor to Forum for Democracy and Education, and on the Board of The Coalition of Essential Schools.
Meier has spent more than four decades working in public education as a teacher, writer and public advocate. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten and headstart teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City schools. She was the founder and teacher-director of a network of highly successful public elementary schools in East Harlem. In 1985 she founded Central Park East Secondary School, a New York City public high school in which more than 90% of the entering students went on to college, mostly to 4-year schools. During this period she founded a local Coalition center, which networked approximately fifty small Coalition-style K-12 schools in the city.
Between 1992-96 she also served as co-director of a project (Coalition Campus Project) that successfully redesigned the reform of two large failing city high schools, and created a dozen new small Coalition schools. She was an advisor to New York City’s Annenberg Challenge and Senior Fellow at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University from 1995-1997.
A learning theorist, she encourages new approaches that enhance democracy and equity in public education. Meier is on the editorial board of Dissent magazine, The Nation and the Harvard Education Letter. She is a Board member of the Educational Alliance, the Association of Union Democracy, Educators for Social Responsibility, the Panasonic Foundation, and a founding member of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation and the Forum for Democracy and Education, among others.
Meier was born in New York City; she attended Antioch College (1949-51) and received an MA in History from the University of Chicago (1955). She has received honorary degrees from Bank Street College of Education, Brown, Bard, Clark, Teachers College of Columbia University, Dartmouth, Harvard, Hebrew Union College, Hofstra, The New School, Lesley College, SUNY Albany, UMASS Lowell, and Yale. She was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1987.
Her books, The Power of Their Ideas, Lessons to America from a Small School in Harlem (1995), Will Standards Save Public Education (2000), In Schools We Trust (2002), Keeping School, with Ted and Nancy Sizer (2004), Many Children Left Behind (2004), Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground (2010) and are all published by Beacon Press.
Ms. Meier’s weekly blog, Bridging Differences, a collaboration with Diane Ravitch and now Pedro Noguera, is a must-read for educators and those serious about the future of American democracy.
- Her personal blog may be found at deborahmeier.com
- Watch Deborah Meier’s “We All Know Why We’re Here” documentary
- Watch Deborah Meier’s “Graduation by Portfolio” documentary
- Watch “A Conversation Among Friends,” Alfie Kohn and Deborah Meier discuss the importance of play