When I began teaching in the late sixties and early seventies, I heard about the new public school in Harlem, Central Park East, and its foundation of progressive education. At the same time, I was reading Charles Silberman’s magisterial anthology, The Open Classroom Reader. These possibilities for creating schools and classrooms that honored children’s innate intelligence, desire and need for play and exploration filled me with an excitement for teaching.
Then, as the years went on, the educational landscape changed. Testing and rigid standards that didn’t take into account all that we know about children, how they develop and what they need to become creative thinkers and future adult citizens, took over what was happening in classrooms across the country.
Some, however, stayed strong and true to their ideals. Deborah Meier and Anna Allanbrook are two of the shining examples of progressive leaders in education who did not give up and who keep fighting for what they know education should stand for.
I’m honored to have had a conversation with these two noted educators and inspired thinkers. I hope you enjoy this important dialogue.
Sad that after so many years, we still have to fight for what is right for kids when, as Deborah Meir said, “we know how to do it”!
That’s so true Claudia. I think it says so much about our country’s priorities.
Wow! I am inspired by what I have just been listening to. How this conversation must resonate with so many teachers like me. I will share this with my teacher daughter and hope that in her already busy life as a mum, artist and workshop creator she will find time to listen and be encouraged by like minded
educationalists such as Anna Allanbrook and Deborah Meier. We are all interconnected by the Covid pandemic and to share our hopes and ideas is the only way forward.
Thank you Anna. The sharing of our hopes and ideas during this particular time is the reason that I began this series of conversations.