Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein, a former associate editor and writer at the Prospect, comes from a family of public school educators. She received the Spencer Fellowship in Education Journalism, a Schwarz Fellowship at the New America Foundation, and a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellowship at the Nation Institute. Her journalism is regularly featured in SlateThe AtlanticThe NationThe Daily Beast, and other publications, and she is a staff writer at the Marshall Project. 

Recent Articles

Shall We Be Released?

The mass folly of mass incarceration and the road back to sane prison policy. 

AP Photo/David Goldman
AP Photo/David Goldman Prisoners faces the wall inside the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison Tuesday, December 1, 2015, in Jackson, Georgia. This article appears in the Winter 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine . Subscribe here . Mr. Smith Goes to Prison: What My Year Behind Bars Taught Me About America's Prison Crisis By Jeff Smith St. Martin's Press Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control By Amy E. Lerman and Vesla M. Weaver University of Chicago Press P oliticos first took notice of Jeff Smith in 2004, when the then-29-year-old political science graduate student came within two points of beating Russ Carnahan, scion of an entrenched Democratic family, in a 2004 Missouri congressional primary. A 2006 documentary, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? , offered an admiring portrait of Smith and the grassroots activism of that race. But during the campaign, Smith had partnered with a shady media consultant who sent illegal...

The Test Generation

What happens in the classroom when a state begins to evaluate all teachers, at every grade level, based on how well they "grow" their students' test scores? Colorado is about to find out.

(Flickr/Neighborhood Centers)
On exam day in Sabina Trombetta's Colorado Springs first-grade art class, the 6-year-olds were shown a slide of Picasso's "Weeping Woman," a 1937 cubist portrait of the artist's lover, Dora Maar, with tears streaming down her face. It is painted in vibrant -- almost neon -- greens, bluish purples, and yellows. Explaining the painting, Picasso once said, "Women are suffering machines." The test asked the first-graders to look at "Weeping Woman" and "write three colors Picasso used to show feeling or emotion." (Acceptable answers: blue, green, purple, and yellow.) Another question asked, "In each box below, draw three different shapes that Picasso used to show feeling or emotion." (Acceptable drawings: triangles, ovals, and rectangles.) A separate section of the exam asked students to write a full paragraph about a Matisse painting. Trombetta, 38, a 10-year teaching veteran and winner of distinguished teaching awards from both her school district, Harrison District 2, and Pikes Peak...

The Change Game

Obama's election showed how much the country has changed; his governing has shown how much it hasn't.

Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics , by Ari Berman, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pages, $26.00 Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women , by Rebecca Traister, Free Press, 352 pages, $26.00 The urge to romanticize the 2008 presidential election is almost overpowering for progressives. Although the Democratic primaries were grueling, they seemed to validate the diversity of the party's coalition. Flooding the streets on election night, progressives could ecstatically celebrate America's achievement -- and their own -- in electing the first African American president. Now, just in time for Democrats' likely midterm drubbing, two new books by liberal journalists have arrived to indulge the impulse to relive the presidential election and perhaps even learn something from it. Rebecca Traister and Ari Berman both covered the 2008 campaign and have spent the past two years putting it in context...

The Innovation Administration

The White House assumes that newer ideas are always better, but that's not necessarily the case.

"Every single one of you has something you're good at," President Barack Obama told children in his Sept. 8 back-to-school address. He went on to list future occupations toward which students could strive -- doctor, teacher, police officer, architect, lawyer. Also included in that list was a career option no previous president had ever named: innovator. Indeed, the Obama administration has been promoting "innovation" to anyone who will listen. The stimulus package includes more than $100 billion for innovation efforts across fields as diverse as school reform, energy research, health care, and poverty alleviation. In July, first lady Michelle Obama spoke at two "innovation events" honoring architects and product designers. On Sept. 21, the president delivered a speech at Hudson Valley Community College in upstate New York on how innovation can create jobs. A search of WhiteHouse.gov turned up 531 documents mentioning the term. The most concrete definition of innovation is offered by...

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