Justin Snider
Justin Snider is a contributing editor at The Hechinger Report. He is an advising dean at Columbia University, where he also teaches undergraduate writing. Snider’s research interests include school reform, press coverage of education, urban politics and transatlantic relations. Previously, he taught high school English and advised student publications in the United States, Austria and Hong Kong. A California native, Snider is a graduate of Amherst College, the University of Chicago, the University of Vienna and Harvard University.

Of bosses, both good and bad

“All good bosses are alike; each bad boss is bad in his own way.” Tolstoy this isn’t. Nonetheless, it serves reasonably well as a distillation of recent research on leadership. Good bosses tend to do a lot of the same things: trust, respect, protect and empower their underlings; treat people equally (and well); communicate clearly; […]

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A closer look at schools receiving $3.5 billion to improve

Education Sector released “A Portrait of School Improvement Grantees” today, with an interactive map that allows readers to sort federal grant recipients by state or improvement model. The map provides details on the grants that have gone to over 800 struggling schools, serving nearly 600,000 students, across the nation. The Obama administration has set aside […]

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The New York Times needs to do its homework

An editorial in today’s New York Times, titled “Fairness in Firing Teachers,” has me wondering whether the Times editorial writers understand much about how teachers — in New York City and elsewhere — are evaluated. The editorial makes some stunning statements that simply don’t comport with reality. First, there’s this: “Most reasonable people would agree […]

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L.A. Times series ‘Grading the teachers’ wins 2010 Philip Meyer Journalism Award

The Los Angeles Times took top honors today in the 2010 Philip Meyer Journalism Award competition for its “Grading the teachers” series last fall. The award, which comes with a check for $500, is given by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (a joint program of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Missouri School of […]

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Rote memorization: Overrated, or underrated?

Among the countless catchphrases that educators generally despise are “drill-‘n-kill” and “rote memorization.” In keeping with their meanings, both sound terrifically unpleasant. To learn something “by rote,” according to the Random House dictionary, is to learn it “from memory, without thought of the meaning; in a mechanical way.” The fear is that we’re turning our […]


A closer look at Justice Kern’s ruling in NYC value-added case

On Monday, January 10th, Justice Cynthia Kern ruled that the decision by the NYC Department of Education to publicly release Teacher Data Reports (TDRs) with individual teachers’ names attached was not “arbitrary and capricious.” That the chips fell this way isn’t terribly surprising. Kern’s ruling is interesting more for what it doesn’t say than for […]


Quality Counts 2011: The Great Recession’s impact on public education

Today, Education Week released its annual Quality Counts report, a treasure trove of articles, charts and graphics that in 2011 focus on how the Great Recession has affected public education in the U.S. The report issues letter grades to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. based on multiple metrics, including K-12 Achievement, School Finance, Transitions […]


New Brookings report from scholars in favor of value-added measures

“‘Where are the academics who are in favor of value-added?’ Here they are, with persuasive reasoning.” So concludes the press release that today announced a new Brookings report, “Evaluating Teachers: The Important Role of Value-Added.” The report was co-authored by Steve Glazerman (Mathematica Policy Research), Susanna Loeb (Stanford), Dan Goldhaber (University of Washington-Bothell), Doug Staiger […]


Are age and experience overrated when it comes to leadership?

Age and experience: How much do they matter when it comes to positions of power and authority? Fifty years ago today, the United States elected its youngest leader to date — John F. Kennedy was just 43 when he edged out Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. The U.S. Constitution, of course, sets minimum-age […]


Building castles in the air: Visionary leadership

It’s hard to read Henry David Thoreau these days — almost 150 years after his death — and not think, “How quaint! How clichéd!” It’s equally hard to remember that Thoreau’s insights weren’t considered clichés when he wrote them. Clichés are a bit like retired professional athletes — spectacular at first sight, and really good […]

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