Synopses & Reviews
Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools. What they got instead was an education.
When Mark Zuckerberg announced in front of a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the Newark Schools — and to solve the education crisis in every city in America — it looked like a huge win for then-mayor Cory Booker and governor Chris Christie. But their plans soon ran into a constituency not so easily moved — Newark’s key education players, fiercely protective of their billion-dollar-per-annum system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s students. Expert journalist Dale Russakoff delivers a story of high ideals and hubris, good intentions and greed, celebrity and street smarts — as reformers face off against entrenched unions, skeptical parents, and bewildered students. The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark’s superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns more than a third of the city’s schools — a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America. Most moving are Russakoff’s portraits from inside the district’s schools, of home-grown principals and teachers, long stuck in a hopeless system — and often the only real hope for the children of Newark. The Prize is a portrait of a titanic struggle over the future of education for the poorest kids, and a cautionary tale for those who care about the shape of America’s schools.
This is the moving and powerful account of two remarkable boys struggling to survive in Chicago's Henry Horner Homes, a public housing complex disfigured by crime and neglect.
The New York Times
This meticulous portrait of two boys in a Chicago housing project shows how much heroism is required to survive, let alone escape. Kotlowitz's story informs the heart.
San Francisco Chronicle
Amid the darkness and ever-present despair, Kotlowitz beautifully captures the moments of brightness and hope. Easily could become the 1990s equivalent of Michael Harrington's The Other America.
As serialized in the New Yorker, a roiling, behind-the-scenes look at the high-pressure race to turn around Newark’s failing schools, with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Governor Chris Christie, and Senator Cory Booker in eyebrow-raising leading roles
Includes bibliographical references (p. 314-315) and index.
About the Author
Dale Russakoff spent twenty-eight years as a reporter for the Washington Post, covering politics, education, social policy, and other topics. The Prize, serialized in The New Yorker, is her first book. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey.