The Prize

The Prize: Who’s in Charge of Americas Schools
by Dale Russakoff 2016

About the Author
Dale Russakoff is a veteran reporter who spent twenty-eight years at the Washington Post covering presidential campaigns, education, the economy, and other breaking topics.

About the Book
This New York Times bestseller chronicles how Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker tried—and failed—to reform education in Newark, NJ.

In September of 2010, billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg went on Oprah to announce a pledge of $100 million to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey. There by his side were the city’s Democratic mayor, Cory Booker, and the state’s Republican governor, Chris Christie. Together, they vowed to make Newark “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” But this trio of power players had no idea what they were in for.

The tumultuous changes planned by reformers and their highly paid consultants spark a fiery grass-roots opposition stoked by local politicians and union leaders. At the center of the fight was Newark’s billion-dollar-a-year education budget: a prize that, for generations, had enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s children. In The Prize, Dale Russakoff presents a dramatic narrative 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.

“One of the most important books on education to come along in years.”—The New York Times

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“This is of one the most disturbing and powerful books I’ve read in years. The point of this story is not that the well intentioned Mark Zuckerberg and his wife gave $100 million to help those less fortunate. The point is they gave it to the wrong people. This deeply researched story left me cheering for teachers, crying for schoolchildren, and raging at politicians. With The Prize, Dale Russakoff demonstrates why she is one of the great nonfiction voices of our time.” —James McBride, author of The Color of Water