MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 1987

Deborah W. Meier

Education Reform Leader

Age: 56

Published July 1, 1987

Deborah Meier is a public school teacher, a writer, and an advocate for educational reform.

A learning theorist, Meier encourages new approaches that will enhance democracy and equity in public education.  She was the founder and teacher-director of a network of public alternative elementary schools in East Harlem.  The schools she has helped create, serving predominantly low-income, African-American and Latino students, are considered models for quality education in the inner city.  She is the author of The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem (1995) and In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization (2002). 

Meier is a convener at the Forum for Education and Democracy and the director of new ventures at the Mission Hill School in Boston.  She was the founder-principal of the Central Park East Secondary School, a public high school in New York City.  She has been a senior fellow at the Annenberg Institute of School Reform at Brown University, co-chair of the Council for the New York Network for School Renewal, and vice-chair of the National Coalition of Essential Schools.

Meier attended Antioch College (1949-51) and received an M.A. from the University of Chicago (1955).

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Deborah W. Meier In the Media

"An Interview with Deborah Meier"

Alternative Education Resource Organization
Deborah W. Meier , 1987 MacArthur Fellow
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About the Fellows Program

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

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