John Chubb was not only a fine scholar, tireless education reformer, and creative innovator. He was also my friend and colleague for more than two decades. I first came upon him in 1990, when he (then at Brookings) and Terry Moe published their blockbuster school choice book, Politics, Markets and America’s Schools. Two years later, we found ourselves working together at the outset of Chris Whittle’s ambitious Edison Project. We both also served as founding members of the Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, which led to much collaboration over more than fifteen years, as well as more terrific books, articles, and reports written or edited by John. (A good collection can be found here.)
While he was still with Edison (where he lasted a lot longer than I did), we had many dealings over that firm’s stewardship of a pair of charter schools that Fordham authorized in Dayton. He and I also found ourselves together at umpteen conferences, workshops, and board meetings. Quite recently, John surprised many of us by taking the helm of the National Association of Independent Schools. He was off to a terrific start there, fully grasping the challenges of that corner of U.S. private education and developing strategies to steer it out of the economic cul-de-sac he saw it entering.
He died way too young, with so much still to do and contribute. But he had already done and contributed more than we ordinarily see from two or three (or four or five) people.
What a huge loss to American education, as well as to his friends and family. John demonstrated himself over all these years to be not just a lively, self-propelled thinker, writer, inventor, entrepreneur, and executive, but also a fast friend and wonderful father who found great happiness in his marriage to Angie.
My heart goes out to her and to John’s family.
– Chester E. Finn, Jr.
This first appeared on Flypaper