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The power of their ideas : lessons for America from a small school in Harlem /

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Beacon Press, 1995
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Teaching the lessons of New York's most famous public school, Deborah Meier provides a widely acclaimed vision for the future of public education. With a new preface reflecting on the school's continuing success.


Preface 2002p. vii
Preface 1995p. xi
1In Defense of Public Educationp. 3
2Central park East: An Alternative Storyp. 15
3The School at Workp. 47
4Myths, Lies, and Other Dangersp. 67
5Choice Can Save Public Educationp. 91
6Small Schoolsp. 107
7Respectp. 121
8Reinventing Teachingp. 129
9It's Academic: Why Kids Don't Want to Be "Well-Educated"p. 161
10On Failure, Persistence, and Public Educationp. 179
Suggested Readingsp. 187

Review by Booklist Review

Meier, founder of the successful Central Park East alternative public schools in New York City, has written an engaging, informative account of the two decades she spent pioneering, experimenting with, and ultimately creating a highly successful educational program. This collection of her writings includes journal entries, articles, and memos that summarize her struggle to create and manage great inner-city schools. Most of all, however, Meier's book is a wake-up call to citizens and educators--about taking education seriously and accepting mutual responsibility for the future of the next generation. Readable, enjoyable, and powerfully persuasive, Meier's book will appeal to those with an interest in the future of public education and, ultimately, society. --Kathleen Hughes

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

An educational reformer, teacher and veteran school principal, Meier has led the movement to restructure large high schools into small, vibrant educational enclaves‘schools within a school, housed within the same building. In a visionary, hopeful blueprint for revitalizing America's public schools, she first discusses her work as co-principal of Central Park East, an alternative public secondary school in East Harlem, New York, which she founded in 1974. Its students, mostly black and Hispanic, come from low-income families; 90% of them graduate high school, and 90% of those go on to college. Meier advocates small classes that encourage independent, critical thinking by using real-world exercises. Her blueprint for reform calls for enclave schools with autonomy over teaching; parents' right to choose the schools their children will attend; and student participation in socially useful, school-directed work experiences. 40,000 first printing; author tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Defending public education is difficult, but the best defense is by example, says Meier. As founder of the highly regarded Central Park East schools in Harlem, she has provided such examples‘and more. Throughout her account, Meier stresses the need for schools that develop human beings and citizens rather than skilled workers or educated academics. Privatization would open education to extremist influences and destroy these goals, she argues. Current problems in public education are caused by economic inequities, large and unwieldy school bureaucracies, and unrealistic demands for academic performance. Overall, Meier's account is an opinionated treatise relying less on research findings or published data than on experience and positive faith in its outcome. There is much good, persuasive writing here in support of traditional, progressive education. Recommended as a solid contribution to any education collection.‘Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Deborah Meier is founder of the Central Park East Schools and the Mission Hill School in Boston. She has been a fellow at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and is vice chair emeritus of the Coalition of Essential Schools. Her many awards include a MacArthur Prize Fellowship.

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