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

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

Gifted Education Faces “Clear and Present” Problems

A new survey sheds light on public attitudes.

Rising Graduation Rates Signal Risk of Sinking Standards

We can’t rule out “dumbing down” as one explanation for rising high school graduation rates, and there’s now provocative evidence that it’s also contributing to rising college graduation rates.
Photo of a High School

New American Schools: A Short, Opinionated History

New American Schools was an attempt to reinvent the school in a way that brought together best practices in a holistic way rather than implementing reforms piecemeal.

Spelling Bees and Tiger Woods

Is it better for kids to specialize early or to try out a variety of activities, and what does this have to do with education policy?

Discipline Doves Hassle Charters, Too

The crusade against school suspensions is now warring against schools that successfully educate thousands of poor and minority kids.

Federal Education Research and Development: A Brief, Opinionated History

With its tiny budget, the Institute for Education Sciences cannot come close to addressing the ignorance gaps in this key realm of our national life.

Aspen’s Newest Social-Emotional Learning Offering Gives Cause for Pause

We see a danger that social-emotional learning could wind up compromising academic instruction or serving to advance ideological causes and agendas.

The Corruption Continuum

Name an educated, upper-middle-class parent who hasn’t done a hundred things to advantage their own progeny in the frantic competition for limited spots at elite universities.

Learn More About Our Authors

Member Since 2009
Member Since 2009
Member Since 2009
Member Since 2011
Member Since 2014
Member Since 2016
Learn More


Notify Me When Education Next Posts a Big Story