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

What Social and Emotional Learning Needs to Succeed and Survive

Seven suggestions for SEL advocates and funders as they seek to deliver on its promise and avoid its pitfalls

Reflections on a Four-Year Sentence

What I learned serving as a state school board member
Horse race photograph

Responding To The Achievement Gap Findings

The reason gap-closing matters is because social mobility matters, particularly in a society that prizes itself on being a land of opportunity. But raising all boats matters, too.

Let’s Hear It for Educational Freedom!

The Trump administration's new school-choice initiative is adaptable to the contours of education needs, priorities, and politics of individual states.

Is a Nation at Risk Now a Nation at Hope [sic] ?

The long-awaited report of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, & Academic Development is now out and will doubtless make some waves.

How to Bring Back Moral Education

It's high time we—and our schools—refocus on character building, and philosophers can show the way.

Why Are Teachers Leaving Their Jobs?

Deconstructing the many causes of teacher turnover

Remembering Two Education Reformers

American education lost two great leaders last week with the passing of George H.W. Bush and Harold O. Levy.

Can Education Still Advance the Common Good?

In a provocative new essay, David Labaree argues that American K–12 education has largely replaced its commitment to advancing the public good with a more selfish focus on securing private gains of various kinds.

Can High School Be Fixed?

It turns out to be extremely hard to formulate any sort of coherent plan for reform at the high school level, and harder still to implement it.

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

Newsletter

Notify Me When Education Next Posts a Big Story