Chester E. Finn Jr.

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 
Biography: 

Chester E. Finn Jr. has devoted his career to improving education in the United States. As a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, former chairman of Hoover's Task Force on K–12 Education, member of the Maryland State Board of Education and of Maryland's Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, and Distinguished Senior Fellow & President Emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, his primary focus is reforming primary and secondary schooling.

Finn has led Fordham since 1997, after many earlier roles in education, academe, and government, including professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University, US assistant secretary of education, 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.

Finn has served on numerous boards, currently including the National Council on Teacher Quality and the Core Knowledge Foundation. From 1988 to 1996, he served on the National Assessment Governing Board, including two years as its chair.

Author of more than four hundred articles and twenty books, Finn's latest (coauthored with Bruno V. Manno and Brandon L. Wright) is Charter Schools at the Crossroads: Predicaments, Paradoxes, Possibilities. Earlier works include Failing Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students (coauthored with Brandon L. Wright), Exam Schools: Inside America’s Most Selective Public High Schools (coauthored with Jessica Hockett), Ohio's Education Reform Challenges: Lessons from the Frontlines (coauthored with Terry Ryan and Michael Lafferty); Troublemaker: A Personal History of School Reform since Sputnik; Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut; Leaving No Child Behind: Options for Kids in Failing Schools (coedited with Frederick M. Hess); Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education (coauthored with Bruno V. Manno and Gregg Vanourek); and The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide from Pre-School through Eighth Grade (coauthored with William J. Bennett and John Cribb).

He and his wife, Renu Virmani, a physician, have two grown children and three adorable granddaughters. They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Chinese Educators in America

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via National Review
Monday, May 17, 2010

Beijing has extended its educational tentacles into 90 countries, including the U.S...

Analysis and Commentary

Do U.S. Students Spend Enough Time Learning?

by Chester E. Finn Jr., Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Education Next’s Paul Peterson and Chester E. Finn, Jr. talk this week about whether American kids need a longer school day, a longer school year, more time on task, or more customized learning experiences...

School of Hard Knocks

School of Hard Knocks

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The education reform movement is stumbling to a halt, and needs its own version of back to basics. By Chester E. Finn Jr.

In the News

The End of the Education Debate

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via National Affairs
Monday, April 19, 2010

The education-reform debate as we have known it for a generation is creaking to a halt. No new way of thinking has emerged to displace those that have preoccupied reformers for a quarter- century...

The End of the Education Debate

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via Advancing a Free Society
Monday, April 19, 2010

The education-reform debate as we have known it for a generation is creaking to a halt.

School of Hard Knocks

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, April 15, 2010

The education reform movement is stumbling to a halt, and needs its own version of back to basics.

Analysis and Commentary

How Should Students Be Assessed?

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via National Journal Expert Blog: Education
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

As states work to devise modern testing regimes, how much weight should they put on evaluating students consistently versus depth of analysis? Do you favor a particular assessment model? If so, why?

How Should Students Be Assessed?

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NationalJournal.com:  As states work to devise modern testing regimes, how much weight should they put on evaluating students consistently versus depth of analysis? Do you favor a particular assessment model? If so, why?

Chinese influence in U.S. schools

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via Advancing a Free Society
Monday, April 12, 2010

How do you feel about the government of China paying for American public schools to teach our kids Mandarin?

Analysis and Commentary

Chinese influence in U.S. schools

by Chester E. Finn Jr.via Flypaper (Fordham Education Blog)
Monday, April 12, 2010

How do you feel about the government of China paying for American public schools to teach our kids Mandarin? And sending teachers from China to the U.S. to assist in this venture?

Pages