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.

We need fewer, not more, college grads? Really?

One surefire way to get people’s attention is to say the exact opposite of what everyone else is saying — to claim that conventional wisdom is wrong. And sometimes, of course, conventional wisdom is wrong. This was one of the themes of Freakonomics, the hugely popular book by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt that went […]


Education insiders: No lasting impact of Waiting for “Superman”

In a segment called “Waiting for Superman: Fact or Fiction?” on the BAM! Radio Network this Monday, education historian Diane Ravitch and four members of the media (including yours truly) discussed Davis Guggenheim’s latest documentary, Waiting for “Superman.” Our host, Errol St. Clair Smith, wanted to know whether we thought the film would lead to […]


The transformative power of failure?

Can failure transform us in important — and healthy — ways? Should we champion failure as much as we do success? Is failure really just success by another name? And in education, should we learn not just to live with but to love leaders who fail? Such questions were at the heart of a recent […]


New reports on helping dropouts get back on track, preventing dropouts in the first place

Graduation rates at U.S. high schools have hovered around 70 percent for decades. But many urban and rural areas routinely graduate only 40 or 50 percent of their students. The dropout crisis in many cities is acute, with 2,000 high schools producing half of the nation’s dropouts. Cutting the dropout rate and turning around “dropout […]

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New study urges caution in using “value-added” measures

The last five weeks have seen tremendous debate on the topic of teacher effectiveness, spurred in large part by recent events in the public-school systems of Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Michelle Rhee, the D.C. Schools Chancellor, fired hundreds of teachers in July, and some of these educators were let go specifically because they were deemed ineffective. […]

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Race to the Top: The biggest losers

Race to the Top winners for round two were announced this morning by the U.S. Department of Education. The ten winners were Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. There were many more surprises today than in the announcement of finalists on July 27th. For those who […]

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The biggest problem facing U.S. community colleges? Remedial math

In an important piece in yesterday’s Lansing (Mich.) State Journal, Matthew Miller looked at remedial math classes taught at the community college level. These are courses that teach such basics as graphing y=2x+5 or solving for x in the equation x2 + 2x = 8. (Readers uncertain how to solve for x in the equation x2 + 2x […]

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In U.S. schools, where’s the rigor?

A quarter-century ago, the nation was transfixed by the question, Where’s the beef? Now, the question we should be asking ourselves about our nation’s schools is, Where’s the rigor? Or, Where’s the academic beef? Concerns about the lack of rigor in U.S. schools were renewed yesterday, when new data were published on how prepared — […]


Colleges that graduate students deep in debt

If April showers bring May flowers, what does July heat bring? Not August meat. August is instead open season on college rankings — which are, of course, mostly fluff. The idea that the overall quality of U.S. colleges and universities can be reduced to a single number, which allows institutions to be rank-ordered first to last, is hugely […]


When should a leader apologize?

To apologize or not to apologize, that is the question. It’s not quite the question Hamlet asks himself, but it is a question facing leaders on a regular basis. When is an apology necessary? When might it actually do more harm than good? And why does it seem like leaders are apologizing nonstop nowadays? These […]


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