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The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools? By Dale Russakoff,

  • Title: The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?
  • Author: Dale Russakoff
  • ISBN: 9780544810907
  • Page: 142
  • Format: Paperback
  • A New York Times Bestseller Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools They got an education.When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his 100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make NA New York Times BestsellerMark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools They got an education.When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his 100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make Newark a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation But their plans soon ran into the city s seasoned education players, fierce protectors of their billion dollar a year system It s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark s children Dale Russakoff delivers a riveting drama of our times, encompassing the rise of celebrity politics, big philanthropy, extreme economic inequality, the charter school movement, and the struggles and triumphs of schools in one of the nation s poorest cities As Cory Booker navigates between his status as rock star mayor on Oprah s stage and object of considerable distrust at home, the tumultuous changes planned by reformers and their highly paid consultants spark a fiery grass roots opposition stoked by local politicians and union leaders The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark s school superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns than a third of the city s schools a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America Russakoff provides a close up view of twenty six year old Mark Zuckerberg and his wife as they decide to give the immense sum of money to Newark and then experience an education of their own amid the fallout of the reforms Most moving are Russakoff s portraits from inside classrooms, as homegrown teachers and principals battle heroically to reach students damaged by extreme poverty and violence The Prize is an absorbing portrait of a titanic struggle, indispensable for anyone who cares about the future of public education and the nation s children.
    The Prize Who s in Charge of America s Schools A New York Times Bestseller Mark Zuckerberg Chris Christie and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools They got an education When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience

    One thought on “The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?”

    1. Rating 4 of fiveMy goddesses The amount of money in this big city school system s budget is boggling It s no wonder it resists reform Too many people make too good a living off the status quo, from the practitioners to the participants to the persecutors After all, if something is failing, there s money to be made from fixing it, right My review is live now.

    2. Bring together Mayor Cory Booker, Governor Chris Christie a 100 million dollar philanthropic gift from Facebook s Mark Zuckerberg and what do you get The debacle to reform Newark s failing children school system In one of the nations poorest cities the stage was set and plans were devised to save Newark s school children However, as a reader it became clear that the folks in charge boosted their own careers and education reform was hopelessly myried in the status quo One sentence sums this book [...]

    3. I read this for my grad school class on policy analysis as a case study in mismanagement and lack of clear lines of accountability It was a nuanced, entertaining, and incredibly pertinent lens into the topic I consistently interested in the different stories Russakoff weaves together especially the subplots focused on individual teachers and students in the Newark school system Beyond that, the writing itself was just masterful it felt like I was watching a Greek tragedy unfold between Zuckerber [...]

    4. When Mark Zuckerberg s hundred million dollar gift to the Newark schools was announced, I was thrilled I love philanthrocapitalism and social entrepreneurship I was looking forward to follow up coverage of the schools progress With a hundred million dollars, how could they fail But apparently, money alone isn t enough Newark s problems were too entrenched, the public was too distrustful of the people administering the money, and ideological and personality differences got in the way To cut to th [...]

    5. Frustrating It s clear that many education reformers are partisan politicians interested in union busting than raising achievement in local income schools, but here it seems that many of the people involved actually had good intentions The massive amount of money Mark Zuckerberg donated to Newark, NJ schools undoubtedly came from a genuine desire to help The failure of that money to accomplish much of anything is of a testament to hubris and clusterfuck bureaucracy than to any sort of nefariou [...]

    6. Russakoff s well reported and even handed book is a sobering commentary of how the 100 million philanthropic endeavor to fix Newark s systemically broken school system failed to make the impact its architects believed it would As always, the moral a good teacher is hard to find and impossible to replace Consultants and executives Quite the opposite.

    7. I read this book because I wanted to learn about the steps that the state and local governments took to try to fix the Newark school system I know that the attempt was a giant failure because Russakoff says so in the opening pages.It bothered me, though, that she cast blame so easily According to Russakoff, Mayor Booker is a vain shyster who seeks the limelight, whose eyes are on the national prize, to the detriment of Newark s residents Governor Christie is a na ve ing nue who had no control ov [...]

    8. This book provides a very good overview of how 3 men Christ Christie, Corey Booker and Mark Zuckerberg and 100M failed to turn around education in Newark, NJ Although there were various factors at play, one key thing that I learned here is that we cannot take a top down approach when it comes to making dramatic changes within a community The local residents have to be involved If not, they won t buy into it and change won t occur Because there was a large sum of money involved, a bunch of outsid [...]

    9. I want to give a realistic and brief review for anyone who is either considering or ambivalent of reading this book.The overall focus of this book was implementing a propitiation by fixing America s schools starting in New Newark, New Jersey from December 2009 May 2014.Why this book is worth the read It gives an actual timeline of how implementing a proposed propitiation was progressing through the eyes of the mayor, Governor and Mark Zukerberg the creator of facebook and their true intentions r [...]

    10. I highly recommend this book as a lesson in school reform Russakoff paints a scathing picture of the reform leaders in Newark Anderson, Booker, Christie whose mostly good intentions come to naught when they fail to consult, engage, or rally the actual people of Newark with the most stake in public education Interestingly, the person who comes off the best in this story is Zuckerberg, who seems to have genuinely learned from this experience and is apparently taking these lessons with him back to [...]

    11. This is an extremely well reported and well written , fascinating study of Mark Zuckerberg s 100 million pledge to Newark schools how, why, and how successfully or not it was pledged and spent Although the topic of public education is obviously politically charged, the book treats politicians, unions, charter schools, etc even handedly, and in so doing demonstrates why true reform is so difficult For example, she details the selection effect that helps charter schools and leaves the district in [...]

    12. This is a relatively short book that needs to be five times bigger to give a proper perspective of the problems plaguing public schools in impoverished urban areas in this case Newark, NJ.What we get is a beauty pageant of up and coming politicians, public education rock stars from the NYC school system and a few wealthy philanthropists who think they have what it takes to turn a public school system disaster into a national model for public education reform hint charter schools, monetary incent [...]

    13. The Prize commands your attention An absorbing book and necessary read for all who think educational reform will ever be realized I consider myself an optimist, but Russakoff s years of research took me on a painful roller coaster ride Four powerful leaders with contributions of 200 million dollars join in a race to reform the Newark Public Schools Lofty goals for sure, but obviously misplaced It becomes evident in this case that political gain supersedes all Once again, uninformed capitalists b [...]

    14. I wish it had been 4 times as long because there s so much to go into where I wanted depth, but really a must read for those of us interested in education who have never taught in a classroom

    15. It s not easy to write a book about education reform that feels informed, balanced, and nuanced It is a vitriolic and complicated space, after all I knowI work for an education non profit But Russakoff manages to discuss education policy through Newark s STORY The reader gets every perspective imaginable All those complex characters and moments get portrayed with empathy You don t just see where Zuckerberg s infamous 100 million gift went, you see the kids, parents, and classrooms affected Nobod [...]

    16. Do you want to feel good about your own public school s shortcomings This book will make you so grateful for the minor problems that you have in your schools.This is the true story about how Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie and Cory Booker put 200 million dollars into the Newark NJ public schools to try to reform it.It s interesting It s disheartening There are so many things wrong with the current system in NJ that it seems like an insurmountable problem.I was left with the impression that the c [...]

    17. An interesting book about educational policy, unions, politics, reform, and lots and lots of money Corey Booker an asshole, in my opinion and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided to raise 200 million dollars half of it from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook to re create the schools in Newark, NJ Because the Newark schools were run by the state of New Jersey, Christie had a lot of latitude in dealing with the system Because Booker made everyone in America think he was this marvelous, [...]

    18. The title of The Prize refers to the one billion dollar budget that the Newark schools have to spend and the race to get that money into private hands It all begins with the generous gift of Mark Zuckerberg who pledges one hundred million dollars to Cory Booker and Chris Christie to reform Newark s public schools Knowing nothing about education, nothing about the problems facing the system other than the kids weren t doing well they decide that the two things they need to do are to break the tea [...]

    19. Well done observation of 4 leadership styles, academic systems analysis, and insight into the political role our education is dependent on politics not separate from private contribution private politics is enmeshed with governmental politics, as this book makes clearer It is clear that we do not have a profession geared towards ensuring our politicians are competent and showing effectiveness to same standards they expect to hold teachers to There seems to be a halo put on successful business as [...]

    20. This excellent and exceedingly well written book has a lot to say about the divide rocking this country today, although its main focus is educational reform It s easy to remember back to Facebook s Mark Zuckerberg s pledge on the Oprah show that he was going to donate 100 million toward improving Newark s schools, a system that is clearly one of the worst in the nation, and wracked by poverty and violence.Just what happened to that 100 million and the matching 100 million raised by then Mayor Co [...]

    21. This is a fascinating case study of educational reform and how it failed in Newark, NJ The schools were run by the state, Corey Booker was mayor of the city, and Mark Zukerberg gave the schools a huge donation Dal Russakoff begins the story at this point in 2009 and looks at how their top down approach failed this district and failed to turn so little around in the district She tells the story in a very even handed way I was impressed by how well she brings out how so many politicians and philan [...]

    22. I appreciate that this book was even handed it pointed out the merits and flaws of both the Newark public school system and the charter school movement The takeaway for me was that manpower and the ability to drop dead weight crappy teachers is the key to empowering disadvantaged students I know how the sausage is made and that charter schools often achieve success by cherry picking the best and avoiding the lowest functioning students, or the ones who really, really need TLC , working teachers [...]

    23. This book is an important book about the intractable challenges of education reform in America s poorest cities and the inadequacies of structural solutions as a silver bullet fix It is also a cautionary tale about the dangers of hubris and unwavering certainty Russakoff follows Mark Zuckerberg s 100 million challenge gift to Newark Public Schools and the collision that Zuckerberg, Cory Booker, Chris Christie, Superintendent Cami Anderson and other leaders had with Newark families when they bull [...]

    24. An intriguing read that looks at education reform in Newark, New Jersey, where big donors, rock star politicians, teachers unions, and the school choice movement all vied for control The Prize was well researched and very readable It did get occasionally confusing when listing names of people principles, teachers, etc but usually I understood if I skimmed back The story of Newark, NJ is both unsettling and exciting People tried to do something and they poured in money and worked hard for reforms [...]

    25. They were going to turn Newark s failing schools around They were going to save Newark s school children In the process, they were going to boost their own careers they d be looked upon as saviors But Mark Zuckerberg s 100 million dollars was not enough Promotion by Chris Christie and Newark s star mayor, Cory Booker, was not enough Even the tough and intelligent new superintendent, Cami Anderson could not do it Little thought was given to involving the parents and communities directly involved [...]

    26. This book was gripping I read it in an afternoon Russakoff is sympathetic to the attempt to reform urban school districts, and even handed about all the prominent players in the Newark experiment But she smartly toggles back and forth between the political maneuvering and the ground level experience of teachers, principals, and students in Newark schools, focusing on just a few individuals to give context and a sense of the stakes Denver imitates Newark s intrusive, top down approach to reform t [...]

    27. I m very glad I read this book It gave me a lot to think about It helped me see what is happening in education reform efforts around the country and thus Indianapolis, in context In telling the story of what happened with a 100 million dollar gift from Mark Zuckerberg to Newark, New Jersey s school systems you are challenged by several good questions Does working on school systems solve the problems of poverty I know this is a biased way to present the question still It seems to me that working [...]

    28. I d heard bits and pieces of this story, but as a proponent of education reform, I was interested in learning This is an engrossing, informative read about the challenges inherent to reforming large, entrenched, under performing school districts I appreciated the way Dale juxtaposed tales of political posturing with accounts of those most effected by the decisions being made, the students At the end of the day, this isn t about politics, charters vs districts, unions, etc it s about doing what [...]

    29. I thought I already knew what the author had to say, but the story was presented extremely well the writing was strong and she did a great job of presenting both stories the view from 100,000 feet above of the politicians and Mark Zuckerberg, and the view at ground level, in the classroom, and the stories of individual kids and teachers So while the storyline tread ground that I already knew well, it did so in a unique and compelling way that reinforced many important lessons and insights in an [...]

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