In 1982, a dozen or so education scholars devoted to high standards, choices for families, and accountability for schools and teachers met at Columbia Teachers College and resolved to assemble themselves into a kind of reform network. The Andrew Mellon and John Olin foundations provided initial funding, and the Educational Excellence Network crystallized as a kind of floating think tank that, over a period of decades, operated under the wing of a succession of nonprofits: first Columbia, then Vanderbilt University, next the Hudson Institute, and finally the Thomas Fordham Foundation. Many donors aroused by the underperformance of U.S. public schools eventually became supporters of what is now known as the Thomas Fordham Institute. These included foundations like Koret, Templeton, Joyce, Kauffman, Helmsley, Kern, Hume, Hertog, GE, CityBridge, Schwab, Carnegie, Searle, and Bloomberg. During its more than three decades of existence the network has produced or influenced many consequential research studies and conferences, from E. D. Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy, to the book What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know?, to much sharp and influential commentary posted on Fordham’s website and blogs.
- Informal history of Educational Excellence Network, edexcellence.net/farewell-and-hello-again-finns-last-stand
- Thomas Fordham Institute home, edexcellence.net