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

Was our football coach right to call for prayer during a big game?

Is it possible to bring religious issues into schools that will unite rather than divide us?

August 14, 2022

Should we be easy on students after the pandemic? Maybe not.

Some schools are reducing homework and loosening grading policies. But data from the College Board indicates students should be given more of a challenge, rather than less.

August 7, 2022

High school extracurriculars are nice. College extracurriculars are huge.

Hardly anyone is telling college applicants what power the activities they pursue during college can have over the rest of their lives.

July 31, 2022

Which high schools do best during disasters such as the pandemic?

Those with the widest use of college-level courses show improved performance even in this crisis

July 10, 2022

College application essay tip: Make fun of yourself. I’m serious.

Your application and recommendations will cover the impressive stuff you've done. But to stand out, think about not what makes you great, but what makes you odd.

July 3, 2022

Don’t blame teachers unions for bad schools. Worry instead about inertia.

Teachers unions can be helpful or hurtful. But are they quashing attempts to make our schools better? The real villain is the administrative inertia.

June 26, 2022

What’s better for disadvantaged students, trades or college?

Massachusetts has deepened both vocational instruction and the reading, writing and math also necessary for success in the trades.

June 19, 2022

Let’s remove local school districts’ power to block charter schools

Virginia should encourage inventive educators to open new schools, something the state has resisted

June 11, 2022