Christopher N. Ruszkowski

Distinguished Policy Fellow
Research Team: 

Christopher N. Ruszkowski is a Distinguished Policy Fellow at the Hoover Institution. 

Ruszkowski served as New Mexico’s education secretary under Governor Susana Martinez (R) during a time of unprecedented growth in student outcomes. He joined the administration as deputy secretary, policy and program, under Secretary Hanna Skandera.

Under Governor Martinez, New Mexico achieved record-high graduation rates and record-low college remediation rates while increasing standards for earning a diploma. The state doubled access to AP and dual-credit coursework, created personalized College Board/Khan Academy learning accounts, expanded broadband access, quintupled pre-K enrollment, strengthened the charter sector, implemented America’s most rigorous teacher effectiveness system, launched a statewide teacher-leader network, and developed the nation’s top-rated state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act.  Since 2015, with the advent of more rigorous assessments, 13,000 more students are reading on grade level and 11,000 more students are on grade level in math—with the state’s Native American students amongst the fastest-growing groups in the country in these areas.

Previously, Ruszkowski co-led implementation of President Obama's Race to the Top initiative in Delaware under Governor Jack Markell (D), first serving under Secretary Lillian Lowery. He is a member of the bipartisan Chiefs for Change as well as the State Advisory Board at Results for America, and is senior advisor at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research. His writings have appeared in The 74, the Albuquerque Journal, and The Line (Frontline Research & Learning Institute).   

Ruszkowski began his career as a middle-school social studies teacher in Miami-Dade County through Teach for America. He taught at a Boston charter school before working in teacher recruitment and pre-service training with TNTP.  Born in Chicago, Ruszkowski (“CR”) is a first-generation American who started working as golf caddie at the age of 13. He ultimately logged 500+ “loops,” leading to an Evans Scholarship and BA from the University of Minnesota. He holds an MA in education policy, organizational, and leadership studies from Stanford University. 

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and CommentaryBlank Section (Placeholder)

NM Students’ Learning Is On The Line

by Christopher N. Ruszkowskivia Albuquerque Journal
Sunday, March 29, 2020

The traditional school year is over. Canceling the remainder was a formality – under consideration in almost every state for weeks. Kansas and Virginia had already done it, and the remaining states will follow suit. It was not much of a choice; it is a vital measure to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Analysis and Commentary

Please, Someone, Name Your Favorite Education Decade

by Christopher N. Ruszkowskivia Education Week
Monday, March 23, 2020

A few weeks back, before the coronavirus swept aside all other conversations, I penned a post remaking on the disappointing educational legacy of the 2010s. My jump-off point was Diane Ravitch's new book; my takeaway was that it reminded me that Ravitch and the reformers she opposed were, in important ways, mirror images of one another—plagued by similar mistakes and missteps.

Analysis and Commentary

American Families Strongly Support School Choice. Educators Should Listen To Them.

by Christopher N. Ruszkowskivia USA Today
Monday, February 24, 2020

Working families are out front on big, structural change for our education systems while political will and policy imagination are lagging.

Analysis and Commentary

In Our 21st Century World, It’s Time To Invest In 21st Century Teaching Materials — & Train Educators To Use Them

by Christopher N. Ruszkowskivia The 74 Million
Monday, January 6, 2020

When I started teaching 17 years ago, the world was a different place moving at a different pace. People still rented their movies at Blockbuster Video, phones weren’t quite as smart and we called for a yellow taxi if we needed a lift. Everything was a little slower — including the sharing of content, ideas and data.

Analysis and Commentary

A Literacy Milestone For Students Of Color

by Christopher N. Ruszkowskivia Real Clear Education
Monday, October 14, 2019

A hard-earned milestone representing a boost in reading levels for thousands of students of color is in jeopardy—even before getting the attention that it deserves.

Do The Fundamentals Of K-12 Education Still Matter

by Christopher N. Ruszkowski, Kevin Hoffmanvia The Line
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Growing up as the son of a Polish immigrant, former New Mexico Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski heard regularly from his father that “reading is the key to all knowledge.” According to his dad, reading is the “path to choice, options, conversation, expression and opportunities of all stripes.” Who could argue with him? In his opinion, literacy created life’s possibilities for his children, one of whom became a social studies teacher and went on to lead one of the most diverse school systems in the nation.

Education Image

Litmus Tests From Left & Right Are Standing in the Way of Education Reform’s Promise for Children and Families

by Lea M. Crusey, Christopher N. Ruszkowskivia The 74 Million
Monday, April 8, 2019

The education reform movement continues to evolve, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Because movements are fundamentally about responding to and creating positive change, that’s a good thing, even if we sometimes find ourselves in a defensive position. Change within our sector is healthy — particularly when it allows deeply held shared principles to assume new forms.