Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

Deborah Meier
Deborah Meier

To obtain a print-quality JPEG of this photo, contact the Office of Public Affairs at (815) 753-1681 or e-mail

News Release

Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-9472

February 13, 2008


Editor's Note: This event has been cancelled. No events will be held the week of Feb. 18 due to the tragedy that took place on our campus Feb. 14.


Educational activist Deborah Meier to address
education, democracy, economy during NIU speech

DeKalb — Educational activist Deborah Meier, a senior scholar and adjunct professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, will speak Monday, Feb. 18, at Northern Illinois University.

Meier will present “Education, Democracy, and the Economy” at 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom of the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center, 231 N. Annie Glidden Road.

The lecture will address the aims of public education, myths about education and the economy and world competition, education as a “business” and the role of education in promoting a good life. Refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by the NIU College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning and the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations, and co-sponsored by the Graduate Student Colloquium Committee, the evening also will include an informal question-and-answer session.

“We are really excited to have someone of this national caliber on campus,” said Mary Beth Henning, chair of the Teaching and Learning Development Committee and a professor of social studies education. “In the era of No Child Left Behind, in which school reform is based largely on high-stakes testing, Meier’s work offers a viable alternative to educational change.”

Meier is known for challenging myths about education and the economy and offering a fresh vision for the aims of education.

At Central Park East Secondary School in New York, which Meier founded in 1985, more than 90 percent of entering students graduated and went on to attend college, most of them at four-year institutions. “She holds high standards for education,” Henning said, “but defines purposes and goals of education as greater than improving test scores.”

Her leadership in teaching and educational administration offers a different interpretation of the role of the teacher, principal and student. She passionately questions what it means to be a career educator.

Meier’s works are required reading that inspires passionate discussion among students in many College of Education graduate courses. Most recently, Meier has received quite a bit of publicity for her ongoing debate with popular educational historian Diane Ravitch on the Education Week Web site.

Meier began her 43-year career in public education as a kindergarten and Head Start teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York. She also has served as co-director of the Coalition Campus Project, which successfully redesigned reform of two large failing high schools. All of the schools with which Meier has been associated serve predominantly low-income Latino and African-American learners.

For more information, call (815) 753-8591.

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