Chester E. Finn Jr.
Chester E. Finn Jr. has devoted his career to improving education in the United States. As a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, former chairman of Hoover's Task Force on K–12 Education, member of the Maryland State Board of Education and of Maryland's Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, and Distinguished Senior Fellow & President Emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, his primary focus is reforming primary and secondary schooling.
Finn led Fordham from 1997-2014, after many earlier roles in education, academe, and government, including professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University, US assistant secretary of education, and legislative director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
A native of Ohio, he holds an undergraduate degree in US history, a master's degree in social studies teaching, and a doctorate in education policy, all from Harvard University.
Finn has served on numerous boards, currently including the National Council on Teacher Quality and the Core Knowledge Foundation. From 1988 to 1996, he served on the National Assessment Governing Board, including two years as its chair.
Author of over twenty books, Finn is author of Assessing the Nation's Report Card: Challenges and Choices for NAEP, published May 2022; co-author (with Andrew Scanlan) of Learning in the Fast Lane: The Past, Present & Future of Advanced Placement, published September 2019; and co-editor (with Michael J. Petrilli) of How to Educate an American: The Conservative Vision for Tomorrow’s Schools, published February 2020. Other works include Charter Schools at the Crossroads: Predicaments, Paradoxes, Possibilities (co-authored with Bruno V. Manno and Brandon L. Wright), and Failing Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students(co-authored with Brandon L. Wright).
Earlier books include Exam Schools: Inside America’s Most Selective Public High Schools (with Jessica Hockett); Ohio's Education Reform Challenges: Lessons from the Frontlines (with Terry Ryan and Michael Lafferty); Troublemaker: A Personal History of School Reform Since Sputnik; Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut; Leaving No Child Behind: Options for Kids in Failing Schools (co-edited with Frederick M. Hess); Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education (with Bruno V. Manno and Gregg Vanourek); and The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide from Pre-School Through Eighth Grade (with William J. Bennett and John Cribb).
He and his wife, Renu Virmani, a physician, have two grown children and three granddaughters. They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.