Member Since 2009

Chester E. Finn, Jr.


Chester Finn, Jr. is a scholar, educator and public servant who has been at the forefront of the national education debate for 35 years. Born and raised in Ohio, he received his doctorate from Harvard in education policy. He has served, inter alia, as a Professor of Education and Public Policy at Vanderbilt, Counsel to the U.S. ambassador to India, Legislative Director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Research and Improvement. 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. He serves on the board of several other organizations concerned with primary-secondary schooling. The author of 16 books and more than 400 articles, his work has appeared in such publications as The Weekly Standard, Christian Science Monitor, Commentary, The Public Interest, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Education Week, Harvard Business Review and Boston Globe. Dr. Finn is the recipient of awards from the Educational Press Association of America, Choice Magazine, the Education Writers Association, and the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. He holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colgate University. He and his wife, Renu Virmani, a physician, have two grown children and two adorable little granddaughters.  They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Published Articles & Media

Lamar Alexander walks to the Senate floor on January 21, 2020.

Leadership Makes a Difference: Lamar Alexander and K–12 Education

As governor, secretary of education, and senator, Alexander had vast influence.
Maryland Governor Hogan

“School-Opening Extortion” Comes to Montgomery County, Maryland

"Teachers’ legitimate interest in risk-mitigation in the workplace does not extend to shutting down other people’s schools."

Shooting the Test-Messenger

Backlash is less about testing than about resisting results-based accountability

School Accountability in the Time of Virus

Not every test is entirely out of the question, even now.

Even More Social Engineering in New York Schools

Two more years of de Blasio is 'plenty of time for a lot more mischief in education'

Time To Put an Ice Pack on the Fever for Social and Emotional Learning

What happens when school leaders, teachers, and ed reformers get so preoccupied with the SEL indicators themselves that they neglect English, math, science, and history or forget how much those matter in the real world?

Senator Warren’s “Pretty Awful” Education Plan

She’s gone further leftward—union kissing, charter hating—than any of the other major candidates.
President Clinton addresses the National Education Summit in Palisades, N.Y., Wednesday March 27, 1996.

The Federal Charter Schools Program: A Short, Opinionated History

Avoiding the ‘rigidities and often dysfunction of local school districts’ yielded a success

“More Play Will Save Our Schools,” a New Book Claims

A review of “Let the Children Play” by Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle

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