I reviewed Dale Russakoff’s “The Prize” and Kristen Rizga’s “Mission High” in the current issue of the New York Review of Books. 


Both authors spent four years embedded in the place and situation they wrote about.


Russakoff does a good job of showing the waste, fraud, and abuse that followed Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to Newark. The goal was to raise every single student in the district to excellence and to create a model of education reform for the nation. Perhaps corporate-style reformers will moderate their claims in the future.


Rizga’s book shows in quite wonderful detail why a so-called “failing school” is not a failing school at all. She goes deep in her portraits of struggling students, dedicated teachers, and a stellar principal. Her book is a counter-narrative to the reformers’ narrative.


I recommend both.