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.

Texas’ incredibly shrinking dropout problem

Reports of another “Texas Miracle” are making the rounds in the media, as the Lone Star state says that the dropout rate for the Class of 2009 was 9.4 percent. That is, only one out of 10 students in Texas who entered high school in the fall of 2005 had quit school four years later. […]


How not to be a role model

That young people look up to Hollywood stars and professional athletes as role models is a fact of life. Often, these superstars disappoint us by revealing that they, too, are only human. This is an especially difficult reality for children to accept. We want — and we need — heroes. Superheroes, even. For a brief bit […]


Rubber rooms: Gone from New York City, but alive elsewhere?

Yesterday was the final day of the 2009-10 school year in New York City, which means the city’s infamous “rubber rooms” also closed their doors. For good. Those unfamiliar with the concept of “rubber rooms” can get up to speed here. The term itself is often said to refer to the padded walls of an insane asylum — or […]


Diversity: what’s the point?

I recently participated in a conversation on BAM! Radio entitled “All The Children Are White. So What?” The main guest was Louise Derman-Sparks, a professor emertius at Pacific Oaks College in California who is a nationally recognized expert on multicultural education. Derman-Sparks has authored or co-authored countless books, including Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children, Teaching/Learning […]

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Improve your writing “quickly and easily,” Pearson promises

The grammatically challenged of this world have new hope: Pearson Education announced today that it’s releasing a series of applications for the iPhone and iPod touch called “GrammarPrep” that will apparently help “college students, professionals and English learners quickly and easily improve their writing skills.” Really? I didn’t know there was a quick and easy way […]


Bill Gates to billionaires: Donate, donate, donate!

Bill and Melinda Gates, together with Warren Buffet, were on the Charlie Rose show last night to make a big annoucement: they’ve asked America’s billionaires to make a moral commitment to donate half or more of their fortunes to charity. Fortune has estimated that up to $600 billion could be at stake if the 400 wealthiest […]

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Bill Gates, Jr. & Sr. on U.S. Education System

For as prosperous and sophisticated a nation as America is, why aren’t our public schools better? That’s one of the many questions that father and son, Bill Gates, Sr. and Jr., pondered this week in a chat at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. The first half of the conversation consisted of Bill Gates, […]


Race to the Top: Predicting round-two winners

The second-round application deadline for the Race to the Top competition has now passed. Thirty-five states and Washington, D.C. applied. Which ones will win? Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has indicated that 10-15 states are likely to receive grants this time around, up from just two winners — Delaware and Tennessee — in the first round of […]


Which American will be next to win the Nobel Prize in Literature?

I recently had a chance to ask Toni Morrison the following question: which American author alive today is most deserving of the Nobel Prize in Literature?  Morrison — who remains the most recent American laureate for the literature prize, which she won in 1993 — said she wished an American would win it again soon […]

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Outliers: Child Prodigies

Earlier this week, I blogged about Malcolm Gladwell’s third book, Outliers: The Story of Success (2008). Near the end of the book, Gladwell cites research by Alan Schoenfeld, a professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, that suggests why some students succeed at math while others don’t. What does success in […]

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