Mathews, education reporter and columnist for The Washington Post,
will be a special guest speaker at Elon April 10. He has worked
in journalism as a local, national, foreign and business correspondent.
the author of the newly released book "Harvard Schmarvard:
Getting beyond the Ivy League to the College that is Best for You."
Interestingly enough he is a Harvard graduate (he worked for the
Harvard Crimson), and he has been an alumnus recruiter for Harvard
for 20 years.
In the book,
Mathews, one of the leading writers on the college search process,
ranks Elon University #1 on a list of "100 outstanding (but
underappreciated) colleges." He said the book is based on his
20 years of reporting as well as a survey of high school guidance
counselors and teachers from across the nation. In it, the School
of Communications is singled out as one of Elon's most outstanding
Barbara Meyer, guidance content specialist at Medfield (Mass.) High
School, as saying Elon has "as impressive a communications
program as I have ever seen."
that students and parents should look beyond the big "brand name"
schools. He suggests young people consider his list of 100 excellent
schools that "deserve more attention than they are getting." In
ranking Elon first on the list, Mathews quotes guidance counselors
from Saudi Arabia, Massachusetts, Alabama and North Carolina.
a counselor at Andover (Mass.) High School is quoted as saying that
students she sends to Elon thrive on its "emphasis on leadership,
service, hands-on learning, and study abroad." Other counselors
remarked on Elon's outstanding campus, commitment to students and
The cover of
Mathews' book includes endorsements by former U.S. education secretaries
William Bennett and Richard Riley, as well as Newsweek senior editor
David Kaplan and James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly.
with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, then returned to Harvard to earn
a master's degree in East Asian regional studies. He began at the
Post as a local reporter in 1971. He became the Post's Hong Kong
bureau chief in 1976. From 1981 to 1992, he served as Los Angeles
He won the
National Education Reporting Award in 1984 for a series on job retraining
for automobile workers. While in Los Angeles, he also wrote the
books "Escalante: The Best Teacher in America" and "A
His book "Class
Struggle: What's Wrong (and Right) with America's Best Public High
Schools" was the first detailed book on the dynamics of elite
public high schools. It ranked the nation's most challenging schools
and revealed how many schools deny some students the chance to take
the most demanding courses. The rating system he invented for high
schools, the Challenge Index, is still used by Newsweek magazine,
school districts and other news organizations.
"Class Struggle," appears each Tuesday on the Washington
Post Web site. He won the 1999 Benjamin Fine Award for Outstanding
Education Reporting. He lives in Bethesda, Md. On his visit to Elon,
he will be the featured speaker at the annual Media Board banquet,
and he will meet with students in the Society of Professional Journalists
and staff members of The Pendulum.