Jay Mathews

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jay Mathews (born April 5, 1945, in Long Beach, California) is an author and education columnist with the Washington Post.

Early life[edit]

Mathews attended Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California, Occidental College and Harvard College. He is a Vietnam veteran, having served in the US Army.


Mathews has worked at the Washington Post since 1971, writing news reports and books about China, disability rights, the stock market, and education. Mathews won the 1999 Benjamin Fine Award for Outstanding Education Reporting for both features and column writing. He writes the Class Struggle blog for the Washington Post.

He has prepared the annual ranking of "America’s Most Challenging High Schools" for the Washington Post (and previously for Newsweek) for 18 years. He developed the "challenge index" by counting how many individuals take Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests at a school each year, divided by the number of graduating seniors.[1] [2] Top-performing schools are excluded. [3]

Mathews’s book Escalante: The Best Teacher in America traces Jaime Escalante’s career from his native Bolivia to Garfield High School in East Lost Angeles, where he taught advanced mathematics courses to disadvantaged high school students, mostly Latino. Escalante’s story was the subject of the film Stand and Deliver, which starred Edward James Olmos.

Class Struggle: What’s Wrong (and Right) with America's Best Public High Schools, was published in March 1998. It explored elite American public high schools and criticizes the selection process that offers Advanced Placement studies to only the top students. His national ranking system for high schools, the Challenge Index, formerly in Newsweek, runs on the Washington Post website, as the High School Challenge. His other books explore the growth of International Baccalaureate programs, the Ivy League admissions system and the rise of the Knowledge Is Power Program charter schools.


He and his wife, Linda Mathews, former Los Angeles Times Beijing correspondent and assistant foreign editor, New York Times national editor, ABC News producer and USA Today enterprise editor, have three children. His son, Joe Mathews, is an author, journalist and syndicated columnist at Zocalo Public Square, and his daughter-in-law, Anna Wilde Mathews, is a reporter at the Wall Street Journal.


Year Title Pages Publisher ISBN
1985 One Billion 448 Ballentine ISBN 0345298950
1985 China and the U.S. Foreign Policy Association ISBN 0871240947
1986 Sino-American Relations After Normalization: Toward the Second Decade 63 Foreign Policy Association ISBN 0871241056
1988 Escalante: The Best Teacher in America 322 Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 0805011951
1992 A Mother's Touch: The Tiffany Callo Story 265 Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 0805017143
1998 The Myth of Tiananmen and the Price of a Passive Press 12 Columbia Journalism Review
1998 Class Struggle : What's Wrong (and Right) with America's Best Public High Schools 320 Times Books ISBN 0812931408
2003 Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That is Best for You 304 Three Rivers Press ISBN 0761536957
2005 Supertest: How the International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our Schools 237 Open Court ISBN 0812695771
2009 Work Hard. Be Nice. 328 Algonquin Books ISBN 9781565125162
2012 "The War Against Dummy Math" 140 American Institutes for Research ISBN 1456340115
2015 "Question Everything" 266 Jossey-Bass ISBN 9781118438190


  1. ^ "Education: How the America’s Most Challenging High Schools list works," The Washington Post April 19, 2015
  2. ^ Jay Matthews, "That’s the Idea: Some schools serving low-income students believe in a challenge" Washington Post April 12, 2016
  3. ^ https://jaymathewschallengeindex.com/public-elites-list/

External links[edit]