Mira Debs is the Executive Director of the Education Studies Program and a lecturer in Sociology. She teaches EDST 110: Foundations in Education Studies, the Senior Capstone Colloquium, and EDST 282/PSLC 417 Comparative International Education. She coordinates opportunities for Ed Studies Scholars and serves as an informal advisor to students who are interested in studying education and/or preparing for a career in the field.
Dr. Debs graduated from the University of Chicago, received a Rhodes Scholarship to complete an MPhil in European Politics and teacher training from Oxford University and a PhD in Sociology from Yale. Dr. Debs conducts research on urban education, parent involvement, school choice, school integration, public policy, and progressive public schools in locations including New York City, Hartford, Germany and Singapore .
Research from her book, Diverse Parents, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in an Era of School Choice (Harvard Education Press, 2019) has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. She is the co-editor of the Handbook on Montessori Education (Bloomsbury 2023).
Other research examines how groups form collective identity through objects, history and their children’s schooling including studies on school integration activism in New York City, Italian art and India’s independence struggle. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Education, Teachers College Record, the American Education Research Journal, Comparative Education, Research in Comparative and International Education, Cultural Sociology, Nations and Nationalism and the Journal of Montessori Research as well as in the New York Times, Ed Week, Washington Post,. Her research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, the Brady Foundation and WEND Ventures.
Prior to graduate school, Dr. Debs taught high school for five years in Boston area public schools and worked in college admissions at the University of Rochester. She is a founding Board Member of Elm City Montessori School and one of the co-founders of Montessori for Social Justice, a grassroots organization of public Montessori educators. She started playing viola in a public school music program in 4th grade and continues to play with local New Haven ensembles. She also kayaks, quilts and makes large meals for spontaneous dinner parties.