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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High-Quality Early Learning According to Yvonne Smith

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No fewer than 8,9600,000 results for “high-quality early learning” appeared in .57 seconds, the time required by Google’s query processor to find the relevant web pages from the company’s database. How comforting to think one might get a handle on this phenomenon.

“What does high-quality early childhood education look like?” was the seventh entry on the first page when I last looked, the headline of an article by Mary Ellen Flannery, who tracks news and trends at the National Education Association. Julie Bullard, of the University of Montana-Western was her main source. She “knows it when she . . . 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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