Introduction

Photo: Rachel Liu-Ballard

Mira Debs is the executive director of Yale University’s Education Studies Program and a lecturer in the Sociology Department.

Her research looks at how parents and communities construct social meaning through their schools and other communal sites. Her research, teaching, and policy interests include school integration, urban education, school choice, parent involvement, and progressive public schools.

Her research on public Montessori schools, the focus of Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice (Harvard Education Press, 2019) has been featured in numerous print outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Education Week and the Christian Science Monitor. Her work has been published in the New York Timesthe American Educational Research Journal, Cultural Sociology,  Nations and Nationalism, and the Journal of Montessori Research.

Her research and educational outreach has been supported by the Spencer Foundation, the Brady Foundation and Wend Ventures.

In addition to her education research, Dr. Debs taught high school for five years in Boston-area public schools. She is a founding board member of Elm City Montessori School, a public Montessori school in New Haven, Connecticut, and she helped to start Montessori for Social Justice, a grassroots organization of Montessori educators.

Dr. Debs is currently working on several research projects exploring parents, schools and social meaning.

  • Competing Framings of Montessori in India: explores the history and evolution of Montessori education in India from 1915-2020, and the competing frames of indigenized Montessori, education for elites and education for poor students.
  • New York City School Integration Activists respond to covid-19 (with Molly Makris & Elise Castillo), awarded a Spencer Foundation Covid-19 research grant.
  • School Choice and Educational Inequality in Singapore (with Hoi-Shan Cheung)