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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Dear ECE, We Need to Talk about Racism

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As conversations about diversity and equity reach a fevered pitch, caregivers and teachers of young children are at the forefront, nurturing the littlest inhabitants of our human ecosystem. Income and racial inequality rule, health disparities are rife, racial bias rears its ugly head, and a rising tide of suspensions among Black preschoolers evokes thoughts of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Megan Madison, a doctoral student at Brandeis University, is leading this discussion at NAEYC’s Diversity and Equity Education for Adults Interest Forum. A former preschool teacher at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, . . . Read full article →

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