Jay Mathews

Pasadena, CA

Education writer and columnist

Education: Harvard College, BA in government; Harvard University, MA in East Asian regional studies

Jay Mathews is an education columnist for The Washington Post, his employer for nearly 50 years. He is the author of nine books, including five about high schools. His 2009 book "Work Hard. Be Nice." about the birth and growth of the KIPP charter school network was a New York Times bestseller. He created and supervises the annual Challenge Index rankings of American high schools. He has won several awards for education writing and was given the Upton Sinclair award as “a beacon of light in the realm of education.” He has won the Eugene Meyer Award for distinguished service to The Washington Po
Latest from Jay Mathews

Scholar knocks AP classes but needs to see more of how they excite kids

Annie Abrams has received well-deserved praise for her book, “Shortchanged: How Advanced Placement Cheats Students.” I have been trading thoughts with her in hopes of finding some agreement on what we need to do for AP classes.

May 14, 2023

Why do smart politicians say stupid things to voters about schools?

We are in the midst of another national argument about schools. But, as usual, the squabbles do little good for children who need to learn.

April 2, 2023

Both sides in Florida African American studies debate ignore power of AP

The debate over what's taught in the new Advanced Placement African American studies course overlooks why AP courses, and similar programs, are so much better than other high school offerings.

March 5, 2023

Can political opponents have a civilized conversation about education?

Our columnist corresponds with former GOP Rep. Luke Messer.

January 29, 2023

Are grading, homework and graduation shortcuts making kids dumb? Maybe not.

Recent data shows that making it easier to get a high school diploma has neither diminished learning, at least on average, nor reduced the value of graduating from high school.

January 1, 2023

Teachers with high hopes found to produce more successful kids

A new study found that high school teachers produced more students completing college when they had high expectations for those young people.

December 25, 2022

Study provides rare control group review of standards-based grading craze

New study reveals some good results from the standards-based assessment reform, but doesn’t delve into ideas like grade minimums and no homework deadlines.

December 18, 2022

Giving disadvantaged teens a mix of high school and college in one place

Teachers at early colleges appear to be making learning more effective by having college courses at special high schools that are often on college campuses.

December 11, 2022

Revisiting ever-surprising high school that 40 years ago changed my life

A return to Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, known for the academic successes of influential calculus teacher Jaime Escalante, finds a school and teachers still committed to excellence and the rigor of AP education.

December 4, 2022

Why don’t teachers complain to bosses about infuriating policies?

Some fear ill will and reduced support. Getting others behind them might help.

November 27, 2022