In our next podcast, we speak with Dale Russakoff who says Newark, New Jersey’s public school system was at one time “debilitated, antiquated, even dysfunctional.” As luck would have it, a billionaire philanthropist agreed.

Five years ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to turn around Newark’s schools. Other philanthropists threw in $100 million in matching funds. They planned to completely transform education for some of New Jersey’s poorest kids.

But Russakoff says there was a problem from the very beginning. “The reality of the lives of the children that they were trying to help was not on the radar of these philanthropists.”

Well-meaning donors, angry residents, students who win and others who lose: that’s all part of Newark’s tangled $200 million windfall, and it’s at the center of Russakoff’s new book The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?.

Dale Russakoff joins us next time on Tiny Spark.

Dale Russakoff_credit Sarah Weiser_opt