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Publisher's Summary

When Mark Zuckerberg announced in front of a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the Newark Schools - and to solve the education crisis in every city in America - it looked like a huge win for then-mayor Cory Booker and governor Chris Christie. But their plans soon ran into a constituency not so easily moved - Newark's key education players, fiercely protective of their billion-dollar-per-annum system. It's a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark's students.

Expert journalist Dale Russakoff delivers a story of high ideals and hubris, good intentions and greed, celebrity and street smarts - as reformers face off against entrenched unions, skeptical parents, and bewildered students.

©2015 Dale Russakoff (P)2015 Dreamscape Media, LLC

Critic Reviews

One of The Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2015 ( Publishers Weekly)
" The Prize may well be on of the most important books on education to come along in years." ( The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Good Information

For any teacher or administrator now serving in a public school....this is a must read. Just what does happen when Charter schools come in. This New Hersey experience tells one story

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An insightful look into Newark Education system

What did you love best about The Prize?

Dale explores the the politics of Newark and its education system in exquisite detail. We get to know the inside story on how Cory Booker attracted hundreds of millions of dollars for Newark Education System. His effort to raise money from Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Ackerman, and other philanthropic organizations around the country to raise more than $200 million dollars.An amazing effort with great intent. What I loved the best about the prize was how Dale tells us why the efforts by Cory Booker, Mark Zuckerberg, and Chris Christie failed.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Prize?

The Fight between Camy Anderson, the school superintendent, and the parents of Newark school children

What about Pete Cross’s performance did you like?

Pete's reading was so good, that I forgot that he is reading the book instead he brought the book to life. One of the best narrators!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes!

Any additional comments?

I was encouraged to read this book by a Newark School teacher, who I met on my flight back from Miami! Thanks Stephanie!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Denyse
  • Hopewell, NJ, United States
  • 01-11-16

Well-researched - Provides Good Answers

What made the experience of listening to The Prize the most enjoyable?

Book was highly recommended by a person who makes large donations. The writer provides what appears to be an even-handed explanation of what went wrong and what the lessons learned should be. My big take away was the politicians and the investors spent too little time listening and collaborating with the community. Finally, school districts are major employers and purchasers of contracts in a city. US schools have a racial history that was ignored. I hadn't thought about the economics and zero sum impact of charter schools. Essentially, the charters drained the public schools of teacher and student talent and the best resources.

What other book might you compare The Prize to and why?

Matt Taibi's The Divide

Which scene was your favorite?

Not Appropropriate

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The Prize made me sad and discouraged.

I was sorry to see the promising teachers deciding they had no choice but to move to the charter schools for decent work environment.

Any additional comments?

While the politicians and celebrities used the Zuckerberg gift to advance their personal careers and agenda, very little was accomplished for the children. I highly recommend the Prize for those who wonder why such a great gift was squandered.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • Montclair, NJ, USA
  • 11-21-15

A primer on how the road to hell is paved with good intentions

No bad guys in this story just completely diverging agendas for fixing a school system everyone agreed was broken. This divergence causes them still to be broken some $100+million later.

A solid piece of reporting that attempts to explain how more money doesn't usually fix the sort of problems you find in a city long in decline.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful