About my interests


In the early 1900s, when the American public schools were institutionalized, you would still find racially segregated water fountains, entrances, and bathrooms in much of the country. Women couldn't vote. The census form in 1910 had a question asking whether a member of the household was a survivor of either the Union or Confederate armies. There were fewer than a million Latino citizens in the entire country and the country was still ninety percent White. In 1910 only two percent of Americans owned cars, less than a quarter of all households had a telephone, nobody had a radio yet, and less than twenty percent of the country had electricity in the home.

That America bears almost no resemblance to the country we know now, and the struggle to provide great public schools is intertwined with a generations-long pursuit of racial and social justice for vulnerable families and communities. I write about that intersection, and my role as a White man in that endeavor.

About me

My mom was a public school teacher, my grandfather was a superintendent, my father runs a tutoring business, and I married a PhD of Italian literature. I went to public schools from kindergarten until twelfth grade. In 2011, our Thanksgiving dinner erupted into a serious argument about a writing rubric.

I'm also a writer and recovering nonprofit executive. My work has appeared in the New York Times, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Education Week, and I am a contributor at The Huffington Post. I recently was a writer in residence at the Carey Institute for the Global Good, and I'm a fellow of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. I work with a group of aspiring allies and co-conspirators to organize more White people to fight for racial justice. Until 2015 I was president of Boston-based education nonprofit Mass Insight Education, where we helped cities and states around this country rethink how to serve their most vulnerable children and communities. Before that I worked in the District of Columbia Public Schools and was on the education policy committee for President Obama's 2008 campaign. I have the privilege of serving as board chairman for Students for Education Reform, and I am on the advisory board of Ed Build.