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

Illustration

“It Felt Like Guerrilla Warfare”

Student achievement levels in the Nation’s Report Card: a brief history of “basic,” “proficient,” and “advanced”
Illustration

Did Public Education Have it Coming?

Crisis for students, parents, taxpayers—not just the "system."
Book cover of "Confessions of a School Reformer," by Larry Cuban

A Century of School Reform, Through the Eyes of Larry Cuban

"Schools, rather than altering a capitalist democratic society, reflect it."
Photo of Denis Doyle

My Friend Denis Doyle

Passionate about school choice, but no "silver bullet" reformer.
Virginia's Terry McAuliffe made a politically costly blunder by saying "I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."

A Parents’ Education Bill of Rights Is a Fine Thing—Within Limits

Education is not exclusively the province of parents any more than it’s the monopoly of the state.
Group of blindfolded people

Blinding Ourselves to America’s Achievement Woes

Even AP students now seek out "easy" subjects, such as "human geography."
SpaceX launch of Thaicom 6 to Geo transfer orbit

Testing, SpaceX, and the Quest for Consensus

A hoped-for revolution in assessment confronts practical obstacles
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."

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