Thomas B. Fordham Institute

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Thomas B. Fordham Institute
TBF Institute.gif
TypeEducation Policy Think Tank
Headquarters1016 16th Street, NW
PresidentChester E. Finn, Jr.
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Thomas B. Fordham Institute
TBF Institute.gif
TypeEducation Policy Think Tank
Headquarters1016 16th Street, NW
PresidentChester E. Finn, Jr.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is an ideologically conservative American nonprofit education policy think tank with offices in Washington, D.C., Columbus,Ohio, and Dayton, Ohio.

The Fordham Institute is not connected with Fordham University.


The Institute's namesake was a businessman and civic leader in Dayton, Ohio. His widow, Thelma Fordham Pruett, established the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in 1959 to support a wide range of causes in the Dayton area. In 1997, following the death of Mrs. Pruett, the Foundation was relaunched—with a narrowed focus on education. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute joined the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in 2007. In 2013, the Associated Press described the organization as "conservative-leaning".[1]


The headquarters of the think-tank operations are located in Washington, D.C. Led by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael J. Petrilli, Fordham publishes and supports research on K-12 education across the nation. Additionally, Fordham staff and board members remain involved in organizations that support and develop quality schools.


Fordham-Ohio publishes research and does policy work in the Columbus office and serves as a community school sponsor in its Dayton office. The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation was approved in 2004 by the Ohio Department of Education—making it the first nonprofit organization in the Buckeye State to acquire such a responsibility. Fordham continues to sponsor charter schools even though the recent data shows that many Ohio charter schools are failing.[2][3]


Standards and accountability[4]

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute presses for the full suite of standards-based reforms across the academic curriculum and throughout the K–12 system, including (but not limited to) careful implementation of the Common Core standards (CCSS) for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics as well as rigorous, aligned state assessments and forceful accountability mechanisms at every level.

A Reform Driven System[5]

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute seeks to deepen and strengthen the K–12 system’s capacity to deliver quality education to every child, based on rigorous standards and ample choices, by ensuring that it possesses the requisite talent, technology, policies, practices, structures, and nimble governance arrangements to promote efficiency as well as effectiveness.


Newsletters Education Gadfly The Education Gadfly Weekly is a weekly newsletter featuring commentary, opinion and analysis, reviews of publications, research, and reports. Ohio Education Gadfly Weekly newsletter specific to Ohio.

Blogs Flypaper, Ohio Gadfly Daily, Common Core Watch, and Choice Words

In 2012 Flypaper won the Education Writers Association prize for “Best Blog.”

Podcasts Education Gadfly Show Each week, co-hosts offer ninety-second debates on three recent education issues, followed by a minute-long segment on recent research news.

Board of Trustees[edit]

Current [6]

David P. Driscoll - Former Commissioner of Education Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Rod Paige - Former U.S. Secretary of Education (2001-2005)
Thomas A. Holton, Esq. – Partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur
Chester E. Finn, Jr. – President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Michael W. Kelly - President and CEO, Central Park Credit Bank
David H. Ponitz - President Emeritus, Sinclair Community College
Stefanie Sanford - VP, Lobbying, College Board
Caprice Young - Vice President for Education, Laura and John Arnold Foundation


Craig Kennedy - German Marshall Fund of the United States
Bruce Kovner - Caxton Alternative Management LP
Chester E. Finn Esq. (1918-2007)
Bruno V. Manno - Walton Family Foundation
Diane Ravitch


Between 2003 and 2007, the Institute gave two prizes for excellence in education. The first, for distinguished scholarship, recognized individuals whose research had furthered the cause of education reform. The second, for valor, recognized leaders whose actions had had a noticeable impact on public education. Winners of the scholarship award include Paul E. Peterson, Anthony Bryk, Eric Hanushek, Terry Moe, Caroline Hoxby, Paul T. Hill, Stephan Thernstrom, and Abigail Thernstrom. Winners of the valor award include E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Howard Fuller, Marion Joseph, Michael Feinberg, David Levin, and Kati Haycock.