Meira Levinson

DKP Design Studio Faculty Director

Meira Levinson is a normative political philosopher who works at the intersection of civic education, youth empowerment, racial justice, and educational ethics. In doing so, she draws upon scholarship from multiple disciplines as well as her eight years of experience teaching in the Atlanta and Boston Public Schools. She is currently working to start a global field of educational ethics, modeled in some ways after bioethics, that is philosophically rigorous, disciplinarily and experientially inclusive, and both relevant to and informed by educational policy and practice. Levinson’s work in this area has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center of Ethics, and the Spencer Foundation.

Since the onslaught of the global novel coronavirus pandemic, Levinson has been focused on expanding educational ethics to address the multitude of ethical challenges posed by school closures, remote schooling, and uncertain reopenings. In collaboration with colleagues, she has co-authored The Path to Zero and Schools: Achieving Pandemic-Resilient Teaching and Learning Spaces policy guidance, a New England Journal of Medicine article on Reopening Primary Schools in a Pandemic, and two additional white papers. She has also been leading global teacher discussion groups on the ethical challenges they face.

Levinson’s most recent books include Democratic Discord in Schools: Cases and Commentaries in Educational Ethics (2019, with Jacob Fay), Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries (2016, with Jacob Fay), Making Civics Count (2012, with David Campbell and Frederick Hess), and No Citizen Left Behind (2012). She also shares educational ethics resources on JusticeinSchools.org, rich video materials to support higher education pedagogy at Instructional Moves, and resources for youth activists and teacher allies at YouthinFront.org. Each of these projects, like her previous research, reflects Levinson's commitment to achieving productive cross-fertilization — without loss of rigor — among scholarship, policy, and practice.

She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Yale and a D.Phil. in politics from Nuffield College, Oxford University.

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The Democratic Knowledge Project is an initiative of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.