Chester E. Finn, Jr., scholar, educator and public servant, has devoted most of his career to improving education in the United States. As Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and President of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Senior Editor of Education Next, his primary focus is the reform of primary and secondary schooling.
Finn is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Education and an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he worked from 1995 through 1998. From 1999 until 2002, he was John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. From 1992 through 1994, he served as founding partner and senior scholar with the Edison Project. He was a Professor of Education and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University from 1981 until 2002. From 1985 to 1988, he served as Assistant Secretary for Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. Earlier positions include Staff Assistant to the President of the United States; Special Assistant to the Governor of Massachusetts; Counsel to the U.S. Ambassador to India; Research Associate at the Brookings Institution; and Legislative Director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
For more than 20 years, Finn has been in the forefront of the national debate about school reform. His participation in seminars, conferences, and hearings has taken him to colleges, education and civic groups, and government organizations throughout the world.
Author of 13 books, Finn's most recent is Rethinking Special Education for a New Century, co-edited with Andrew Rotherham and Charles Hokanson. In 2000, Princeton University Press published Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education, co-authored with Bruno V. Manno and Gregg Vanourek. In 1999, with William J. Bennett and John Cribb, he wrote The Educated Child: A Parent's Guide from Pre-School Through Eighth Grade (Free Press).
A native of Ohio, he holds an undergraduate degree in U.S. history, master's degree in social studies teaching, and doctorate in education policy, all from Harvard University.
Finn serves on a number of boards including K12, the Ohio Community School Association, the Charter School Leadership Council and the Philanthropy Roundtable, as well as the advisory boards of the National Association of Scholars, Center of the American Experiment, Parents Raising Educational Standards in Schools, and the Centre for Policy Studies. From 1988 to 1996, he was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, including two years as its chairman.
Author of more than 300 articles, his work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Public Interest, Washington Post, New York Times, Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Harvard Business Review, and Boston Globe. He writes a weekly column in the Fordham Foundation's Education Gadfly.
Finn has received awards for his work 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. They live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.