I'm a former editorial writer for USA Today with a long career covering three things: local issues at several newspapers in upstate New York, the Pentagon (after arriving in Washington) and then education. Defense issues, in contrast to education problems, were relatively clean and straight-forward.
Of all the education issues I've written about, the boys dilemma may be the most perplexing. The conventional wisdom at the time, that girls were having a hard time in school, turned out to be false, and my research into the issue turned into Why Boys Fail.
Former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee wrote the foreword for Why Boys Fail, and soon after the book came out I approached her about cooperating for a biography. After a lengthy deliberation -- for Rhee, national publicity has often backfired -- she agreed, giving a green light for me to talk to her family, friends and work associates. The result is The Bee Eater.
Next I wrote a book with the College Board about which school districts and school leaders were doing the best job educating low-income students: Achieving the Dream. One chapter in that book was about Rocketship charter schools, which led to the current book I'm working on, On The Rocketship, which is about high performing charter schools trying to reach more students now attending lousy schools. On The Rocketship will be released in June, 2014.