The American Educational Research Association (AERA) awarded IEL board member John Merrow its first-ever Excellence in Media Reporting on Education Research Award. AERA presents this award to an individual in media who has demonstrated excellence in raising awareness, knowledge, and understanding of education research.
Merrow started his journalistic career at IEL. Between 1974 and 1982, IEL supported Merrow’s work at National Public Radio to produce “Options in Education” series, where he prepared nearly 400 documentaries on public education.
“IEL is proud to have nurtured John through his early career, and now to have him as a member of our board,” said IEL president Martin J. Blank. “His work has helped the public and policymakers more fully understand the challenges of educating a fast-changing student population.”
Throughout his 41-year career, Merrow wored to raise awareness education issues, drawing on empirical research to open a national dialogue on K-16 education issues. Over 40 years, Merrow provided education coverage reporting from every U.S. state and a dozen countries on issues ranging from pre-school through adult education in schools, homes, and prisons. He is the only education reporter to have interviewed all U.S. secretaries of education.
During his career he received the George Polk Award, two George Foster Peabody Awards, three Emmy nominations and dozens of awards from the Education Writers Association, Ciné, and other organizations. He is the only journalist to be honored with the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education, often referred to as “education’s Nobel Prize,” which he received in 2012.
Merrow has authored two books, The Influence of Teachers (2011) and Choosing Excellence (2001) and was co-editor of Declining by Degrees (2005). He blogs weekly at themerrowreport.com. Merrow is working on a new book, Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program for Public Education.
Merrow earned an A.B. from Dartmouth College, an M.A. in American Studies from Indiana University, and a doctorate in Education and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Richard Stockton State College and Paul Smith’s College. He received the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education from CASE in 2000, the HGSE Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education in 2006, and the Horace Dutton Taft Alumni Medal in 2009.
Merrow lives in New York City with his wife, Joan Lonergan, who recently retired as Head of the Hewitt School.