Students of Color and Public Montessori Schools: A Review of the Literature




minority, students of color, Montessori, urban education, school choice


Students of color comprise a majority in public Montessori school enrollments around the United States, and practitioners are often asked for evidence of the Montessori Method’s benefits for these students. This article examines the relevant literature related to the experiences of students of color in public Montessori schools. Research finds Montessori education offers both opportunities and limitations for students of color in attending diverse schools, developing executive functions, achieving academically, accessing early childhood education and culturally responsive education, minimizing racially disproportionate discipline, and limiting overidentification for special education. Public Montessori education’s efficacy with students of color may be limited by several factors: the lack of diversity of the teaching staff and culturally responsive teacher education, schools that struggle to maintain racially diverse enrollments, and the challenge of communicating Montessori’s benefits to families with alternative views of education. The review concludes with directions for future research.

Author Biographies

Mira Debs, Yale University

Mira Debs is a PhD candidate in sociology at Yale University.

Katie E. Brown, National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector

Katie E. Brown, PhD, is the DC Regional Coordinator for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.


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How to Cite

Debs, M., & Brown, K. E. (2017). Students of Color and Public Montessori Schools: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Montessori Research, 3(1), 1–15.