Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: The Prize, by Dale Russakoff


by Dale Russakoff
Houghton Mifflin
September 2014
0547945019 ISBN 13 9780547840512
304 Pages

THE PRIZE: WHO'S IN CHARGE OF AMERICA'S SCHOOLS, commands your attention throughout.  An absorbing book and necessary read for all who think educational reform will ever be realized. There is no easy solution as Russakoff gives the reader insight from a recent example in the Newark, NJ public school system.  The players: I expect had grandiose intent: Christ Christie, Cory Booker, Mark Zuckerberg and Cami Anderson. Who doesn't want to reform education these days?

I consider myself an optimist, but Russakoff's years of research took me on a painful roller coaster ride through the urban city of Newark.  Juggling below amid the dropping test scores, high crime, gangs, single parent homes, and general indifference is the powerhouse quartet with a staggering $200 million to play with, to reform the failing district. Lofty goals for sure, but obviously misplaced. It becomes evident in this case that political gain supersedes all. Once again, uninformed capitalists believe they can mold schools into their corporate model structure. NO!

It is not the teachers! You can't replace community schools without considering the insiders. What about people...students...parents...yes and those dedicated teachers? Support is needed on so many levels. 

Dale Russakoff, a 28 year veteran reporter for Washington Post has delivered a well researched, well paced and comfortable style for all readers. Her experience shows. Her first book gives promise for her future projects. 

As the author concludes and I concur,  you need to 

"....put the real needs of children at the center of the national conversation about education reform, which in its ideological decisiveness is in danger of leaving them behind." (218)

Kudos to Dale Russakoff for unveiling the shortsightedness of people in power. This is a dynamic and valuable addition to educational library book stacks.

~Wisteria Leigh 
September 2015

Disclosure: Self-purchased book. 

View all my review on Goodreads

Disclosure: An uncorrected proof was sent to me with a request for an unbiased review.  This review is my honest opinion.

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