Kaliris Salas-Ramirez: Caught in the Crossfire of a Battle for Democracy

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Central Park East 1, a small, public elementary school in East Harlem, has been under siege for more than a year, a battleground for democracy. Founded by renowned educator, writer, and activist Deborah Meier in 1974, this outpost for progressive, developmentally attuned practice is one of a dwindling number of options in New York City for leveling the playing field for young children.

A neuroscientist who was born and grew up in Puerto Rico, Kaliris Salas-Ramirez is an assistant professor at the medical school of the City University of New York, and co-president of the Parents . . . Read full article →

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A Kindergartner Reserves a Space for #OptOut2020

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Welcome to the season of testing, our vernal blood sport. Uploading the schedule took forever. It must have been the server of the New York State Education Department, sclerotic as the bureaucracy itself. But there it was, a memo signed by Deputy Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. An exam for every public school student on the “education” spectrum—if one could dignify it as such—from third through eighth grade.

Action has intensified in recent weeks. New York State Allies for Public Education, which has long guided parents in the process of refusal, expressed outrage at a toolkit sent to . . . Read full article →

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Kaliris Salas-Ramirez: A Neuroscientist for Democracy, Racial Equity, and Progressive Education

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America’s education policies are tearing at the fabric of progressive practice. Nowhere is this phenomenon more damaging than in the earliest years. The kind of schooling that nurtures higher order thinking, curiosity, imagination, and innovation, critical skills for our complex 21st-century world, has become a province of the privileged—a rare species, especially in underserved communities of color.

Kaliris Salas-Ramirez is fighting for her biracial son’s progressive education at Central Park East I, in East Harlem. The brainchild of Deborah Meier, who describes play as “self-initiated cognitive activity,” CPE I is now a battleground for democracy, pitting parents . . . Read full article →

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Deborah Meier’s Stand on Central Park East I: A Crucible for Progressive Education

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In 1974, a small elementary school blossomed in East Harlem. The seeds were planted by Deborah Meier, renowned thinker, teacher, principal, education activist, and recipient of a McArthur “genius” award. Blessed by Anthony Alvarado, a forward-thinking superintendent in New York City, Central Park East I became a beacon of progressive, child-centered practice.

The school embodies Meier’s vision. “Democracy demands we acknowledge everyone’s inalienable capacity to be an inventor, dreamer, and theorist—to count in the larger scheme of things,” she wrote in The Power of Their Ideas. She warned us long ago about the dire . . . Read full article →

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