MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 1987

Deborah W. Meier

Education Reform Leader

New York, New York

Age: 56 at time of award

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.

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Alternative Education Resource Organization
Deborah W. Meier , 1987 MacArthur Fellow
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