Cory Booker, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Newark Schools Experiment

“The Prize” author Dale Russakoff discusses massive school reform intervention spearheaded by then-Mayor Cory Booker and funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and its mixed results
(EWA Radio: Episode 38)

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

In 2010, Mayor Cory Booker convinced Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to donate $100 million to to turn around Newark, N.J.’s  public schools and expand school choice. Now a U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Booker faces fresh scrutiny for his education policy track record. In this past episode of EWA Radio, Dale Russakoff, author of  “The Prize: Who’s In Charge of America’s Schools?” discusses her year reporting the story.

Russakoff, a longtime reporter for The Washington Post, spent more than three years reporting on what turned into a massive experiment in top-down educational interventions—with decidedly mixed results.

Her new book, “The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?” began as a serialized account for The New Yorker magazine. For the project, she gained remarkable access to not only Zuckerberg but also New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Cory Booker (formerly Newark’s mayor and now a U.S. senator).

She spoke with EWA Radio about why she undertook the project, whether the lessons of Newark would translate to other urban school systems, and the strong response—and criticism—her work is receiving.

This episode of EWA Radio originally aired September 8, 2015.

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