• Bridging Differences

    In Bridging Differences
    Deborah exchanges views with a different colleague, each for a month or two.  Her current correspondent is Harry Boyte, a Minnesotan (although his roots are southern). He has always been a friend and mentor, even though we come to stuff in different ways and even disagree on and off. He is a professor and an activist, a theorist and a practitioner, with a focus on democracy—beginning a long time ago when he worked with Martin Luther King. He has written or edited ten books on the topic and founded a Center on
    democracy which is now at St Augsberg College, but formerly at the University of Minnesota.  

  • Where I’ll Be

    October 5–7, 2017 National Conference Progressive Education Network: Boston, MA

    October 9, 2017 Author Event Penguin Random House: NY, NY

  • Network for Public Education

  • Good Morning Mission Hill

    For information on showings or purchasing the video Good Morning Mission Hill
  • Central Park East Elementary School

  • Twitter Updates

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About Me

Deborah Meier has been working in public education as a teacher, principal, writer, advocate since the early 1960s, and ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the U.S. She started her work as an early childhood teacher in Chicago after graduating from the U of Chicago. Her family moved to NYC in the late 1960s where she worked as a kindergarten teacher in Central Harlem. For the next 20 years, Meier helped revitalize public schools in New York City’s East Harlem District 4. In 1974, she founded Central Park East Elementary School (CPE I), a highly successful public school of choice that served predominantly local African American and Hispanic families. During the next dozen years, Meier opened two other Central Park East elementary schools in District 4 as well as an acclaimed secondary school (CPESS), while also supporting and directing the development of similar schools throughout NYC. She  helped found the Coalition of Essential Schools, in the 1980s, under the leadership of Ted Sizer.  In 1987 she received a MacArthur “genius” Award for her work in public education. During the 1990s she also served as an Urban Fellow at the Annenberg Institute. In 1995 she moved to Boston to start Mission Hill, a K-8 school in Roxbury. These schools were part of a network Meier created that helped initiate new small schools, both elementary and secondary, both in NYC and Boston. At Coalition schools, Meier helped foster democratic communities, giving teachers greater autonomy in the running of a school, giving parents a voice in what happens to their children in schools, and promoting intergenerational connections. She has always been a proponent of active, project-based learning, and of graduation through a series of exhibitions of high quality work. She is the author of many books and articles, including The Power of Their Ideas, Lessons to America from a Small School in Harlem, and In Schools we Trust. She is an outspoken critic of state-mandated curriculum and high stakes standardized testing and has written extensively on their unreliability and class/race biases. She is on the board of  FairTest, Save Our Schools, Center for Collaborative Education and the Association for Union Democracy. She is also on the editorial board of The Nation, The Harvard Education Letter, and Dissent magazines.


Deborah Meier can be reached at:

email: deborahmeier@me.com

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 609
HIllsdale, NY 12529

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