Expertise: Education policy, education reform
Chester E. Finn Jr., scholar, educator, and public servant, has devoted most of his career to improving education in the United States. A senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and chairman of Hoover’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, Finn is also president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Thomas B. Fordham Institute and contributing editor of Education Next. His primary focus is the reform of primary and secondary schooling.
Finn is also an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he worked from 1995 through 1998. From 1999 until 2002, he was the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. In 1992–94, he served as founding partner and senior scholar with the Edison Project. He was a professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University from 1981 until 2002. From 1985 to 1988, he served as assistant secretary for research and improvement and counselor to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. From 1988 to 1996, he served on the National Assessment Governing Board, including two years as its chair. In 2004–5, he served on the Governor’s Commission on Quality Education in Maryland. Earlier positions include staff assistant to the president of the United States; special assistant to the governor of Massachusetts; counsel to the US ambassador to India; research associate at the Brookings Institution; and legislative director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. A native of Ohio, he holds an undergraduate degree in US history, a master’s degree in social studies teaching, and a doctorate in education policy, all from Harvard University.
Author of eighteen books, Finn’s latest is Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut (Hoover Institution Press, 2009). Other books include Troublemaker: A Personal History of School Reform Since Sputnik; and The Educated Child: A Parent’s Guide from Pre-School through Eighth Grade, coauthored with William J. Bennett and John Cribb. A speaker and moderator at myriad events and frequent commentator in the national media, he has also authored more than four hundred articles in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Public Interest, Washington Post, New York Times, and Education Next.