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, NJ, 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.


“brilliantly reported . . . . ‘The Prize’ may well be one of the most important books on education to come along in years.”

— Alex Kotlowitz, The New York Times Book Review


“This is one of the most disturbing and powerful books I’ve read in years.”

— James McBride, National Book Award-winning author of The Good Lord Bird and The Color of Water


“With The Prize, Dale Russakoff has brilliantly rendered the hopes, complexities, pitfalls, and flaws of the effort to reform American education.”

— William Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope


“[I]f you read Russakoff’s account and find your beliefs vindicated, you’re not trying hard enough.”

–Conor Williams,

“Dale Russakoff managed to get amazing access to the inside story of Mark Zuckerberg’s giant gift to Newark schools. . . . An essential history of the modern education reform movement, both infuriating and inspiring”

— Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed

“Russakoff’s eagle-eyed view of the current state of the public education system in Newark and the United States is one of the finest education surveys in recent memory.”

–Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

It is not just sticking to the facts and the avoidance of taking sides that makes “The Prize” such a moving and thought-provoking book. It is the painstaking specificity with which she describes the lives of those strangely absent from many more ideological tracts: the children.

   –Jonathan Knee, DealBook, The New York Times