About John Merrow

“Nobody reports on the treasures and traumas of public education better than John Merrow. He is, quite simply, the leading education journalist in America.”

— Jim Lehrer, former host of PBS NewsHour

John Merrow is currently Education Correspondent for PBS NewsHour and President of Learning Matters, an independent production company based in New York City. He began his career as an education reporter with National Public Radio nearly 40 years ago with the weekly series, Options in Education, for which he received the George Polk Award in 1982. In subsequent years, he expanded into broadcast television, documentaries, and print. In 2012, he became the first journalist to receive the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education.

His varied reporting has continually been on the forefront of education journalism: Merrow is the only reporter to have interviewed every U.S. Secretary of Education, the first to get the inside scoop on the college admission process, and the initial force in exposing the behind-the-scenes financial relationship between CHADD, a child advocacy group, and Ciba-Geigy, the pharmaceutical company that produces the A.D.D. drug Ritalin. He has also worked with top leaders in shaping public policy – he even ran the historic 1988 meeting in Itasca County, Minnesota that sparked the charter school movement. Merrow’s work has taken him from community colleges to kindergarten classrooms, from the front lines of teacher protests to policy debates on Capitol Hill.

Since 1984, he has worked in public television as a NewsHour Correspondent and as host of his own series of documentaries. He has received George Foster Peabody Awards for School Sleuth: The Case of An Excellent School (2000) and Beyond Borders: Personal Stories from a Small Planet (2006), Emmy nominations in 1984, 2005, and 2007, four CINE Golden Eagles, numerous awards from the Education Writers Association and more. An occasional contributor to USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Education Week, he is the author of The Influence of Teachers (2011), Choosing Excellence (2001) and co-editor of Declining by Degrees (2005). John Merrow also maintains a weekly blog, Taking Note.

Merrow earned a B.A. 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. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award From the Academy Of Education Arts And Sciences in 2012, the James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education in 2000, the HGSE Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education in 2006, The Horace Dutton Taft Medal in 2010, and honorary doctorates from Richard Stockton College (NJ) and Paul Smith’s College (NY).

He lives in New York City with his wife, Joan Lonergan, the Head of the Hewitt School.


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