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BA, Antioch College; MA, University of Chicago
Author/co-author of: Beyond Testing: 7 Assessments of Students and Schools More Effective Than Standardized Tests (2017); These Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can't Afford to Abandon our Public Schools (2017); Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground (2010); Keeping School: Letters to Families from Principals of Two Small Schools (2004); In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization (2002); Will Standards Save Public Education? (2000); The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America From a Small School in Harlem (1995)

Deborah Meier has been working in public education as a teacher, principal, writer, and advocate since the early 1960s, and she ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the United States, often considered the founder of the modern small schools movement.

After spending several years as a kindergarten teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia, and then New York City, in 1974 Meier became the founder and director of the alternative Central Park East Secondary School, which embraced progressive ideals in an effort to provide better education for children in East Harlem, within the New York City public school system. Meier went on to help establish a network of small, successful schools in New York City.

In 1996, Meier moved to Boston, where she became the founding principal of a small K–8 pilot school, Mission Hill School, within the Boston Public Schools system. These schools were part of a network Meier created that helped initiate new small schools, both elementary and secondary, in New York City 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.

Meier currently is a Senior Scholar at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education. Previously, she was board member and director of New Ventures at Mission Hill, director and advisor to Forum for Democracy and Education, and member of the Executive Board of The Coalition of Essential Schools. She has always been a proponent of active, project-based learning.

In 1987, Meier received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for her work in public education. During the 1990s she also served as Senior Fellow at the Annenberg Institute. She has received numerous honorary degrees and is the author of many prominent books and articles, including The Power of Their Ideas, Lessons to America From a Small School in Harlem, and In Schools We Trust.

Meier 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 also is on the editorial board of The Nation, The Harvard Education Letter, and Dissent magazines. She continues to write and speak regularly on educational issues.

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