Voices for School Reform

Published September 1, 2003

During the past six and a half years, School Reform News has interviewed more than 60 school reform advocates. Although all of these interviews are available online, they are organized there only by date, perhaps not the most helpful structure.

A different organization–by perspective and by issue–is presented below to assist readers in more readily locating needed information from the interviews.

Please note individuals are identified below by the position they held at the time they were interviewed, not by their current positions.

National Perspectives

Roderick Paige, Right Man for the Job
Paige is U.S. Secretary of Education and former Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.

Chester E. “Checker” Finn, Jr., Accountability and Choice: Each Depends on the Other
Finn is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Herbert J. Walberg, Reformers, Make No Small Plans
Walberg is research professor of psychology and education, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Quentin L. Quade, Strap on the Armor and Go: Never Give In!
The late Quentin Quade was director of the Blum Center for Parental Freedom in Education at Marquette University.

Joseph P. Viteritti, Delivering on the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity
Viteritti is professor of public administration at New York University, and author of Choosing Equality.

Views from Congress

Floyd H. Flake, We Cannot Afford to Wait Any Longer
The Reverend Flake is a former member of Congress (D-Queens), and senior pastor of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church. He will be a keynote speaker at The Heartland Institute’s 19th Anniversary Benefit Dinner on October 16.

J.C. Watts, Jr., “Let’s Do What’s Best for the Child”
Watts is a member of Congress (R-Oklahoma) and House Republican Conference Chairman.

George V. Voinovich, Together, We Can Do It
Voinovich is the U.S. Senator from Ohio, former Governor of Ohio, and former Mayor of Cleveland.

State Perspectives

Gary E. Johnson, Better Education Does Make All the Difference
Johnson is governor of New Mexico.

Charles L. Glenn, Jr., Lessons from History, Advice for Today
Glenn is professor of administration, training and policy studies, and fellow of the University Professors Program at Boston University.

Lisa Graham Keegan, The More Choices We Have, the Better Off We’re Going to Be
Keegan is state superintendent of public instruction for Arizona.

Anne C. Fox, Idaho’s Voice for Parents in Education
Fox is superintendent of public instruction for Idaho.

State Education Standards

Sandra Stotsky, America’s Teaching Crisis
Stotsky is Deputy Education Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Planning, State of Massachusetts.

Michael A. Rios, California: Setting the Standard for Science Teaching
Rios is a high school science teacher in the Montebello Unified School District and chairman of the Curriculum Framework and Criteria Committee in Science.

City and Community Perspectives

John O. Norquist, Restoring the Urban Advantage with School Choice
Norquist is mayor of the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Paul D. Novack, A Merry-Go-Round of Irresponsibility
Novack is mayor of Surfside, Florida.

Joan Davis Ratteray, Community-Based Schools: Educationally and Economically Essential
Ratteray is founder of the Institute for Independent Education.

Views from School Districts

Donald R. McAdams, School Board Members: The Forgotten Reformers?
McAdams is a former member of the Houston Independent School Board, and founder and president of the Center for Reform of School Systems.

Bruce R. Thompson, Changing the Vision for Public Education
Thompson is president of the Milwaukee Public Schools Board and a professor in the School of Business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Paul C. Vallas, Chicago: Viewing Education through a Performance Prism
Vallas is CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

Anthony Trujillo, Urban Schools Can Succeed: “Wall-to-Wall, for All Children”
Trujillo is former superintendent of the Ysleta School District, El Paso, Texas.

Howard L. Fuller, Relentlessly Pursuing School Choice
Fuller is president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and former superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools.

School Operations

Thomas E. Williams, Brilliant Teachers + Good Administration + Concerned Parents = The Best School You Can Get
Williams is headmaster of the Healthy Start Charter School, Durham, North Carolina.

Nina Shokraii Rees, Empowering Principals the Key to Improving Education
Rees was chief education policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation; she is now Deputy Under Secretary of Education for the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Alexander Volokh, School Violence Prevention: Choice and Accountability Are Key
Volokh is adjunct scholar, Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, California.

Andrew J. Coulson, Computers in K-12 Classrooms: Helpful, Hindrances, or Ornaments?
Coulson is author of Market Education: The Unknown History.


William L. Sanders, Helping Teachers Raise Student Achievement
Sanders is a researcher with the University of Tennessee and developer of the Value-Added Assessment System.

Barak Rosenshine, What Characterizes an Effective Teacher?
Rosenshine is professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois.

Siegfried E. Engelmann, “If the Children Aren’t Learning, We’re Not Teaching
Engelmann is professor of special education, University of Oregon, and founder of the National Institute for Direct Instruction.

G. Reid Lyon, “Reading Is Anything But Natural”
Lyon is chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Harold W. Stevenson, “We’re Talking about the Future Here” [Teaching Math]
Stevenson is professor of psychology, University of Michigan.


E.D. Hirsch, “Ready to Learn What?” Is the Key to Education Reform
Hirsch is head of the Core Knowledge Foundation and author of The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them.

Marva Collins, Where High Expectations Are Met — And More
Collins is founder of the Westside Preparatory School.

Diane Ravitch, Anti-Intellectualism Runs Rampant in U.S. Education
Ravitch is a research professor at New York University and author of Left Back and The Language Police.

How Parents View Public Schools

“Peg” Luksik, Outcome-Based Education: Remaking Society One Child at a Time
Luksik is author of Outcome-Based Education: The State’s Assault on Our Children’s Values.

Susan Sarhady, Don’t Mess with Texans
Sarhady is a member of the Plano, Texas, Parental Rights Council.

John E. Coons, School Choice as Family Policy
Coons is University of California Law Professor Emeritus and an expert on the constitutionality of school finance systems.

Lawrence C. Patrick, III, Parents Must Have the Power to Choose
Patrick is president and CEO of the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

Student Perspectives

Saundra Lemons, “I Wasn’t Taught to Read–I Was Taught to Play Games”
Lemons is a District of Columbia high school senior.

John Taylor Gatto, Masters of Their Own Souls
Gatto is a former New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year and author of The Underground History of American Education.

Perspectives of Business Leaders

Peter R. Denton, “It’s All About Money and Power”
Denton is founder of E3 (Excellent Education for Everyone), one of the largest grassroots school choice organizations in the country.

Dick Devos, Time to Get Our Priorities Right: Schools Exist to Provide an Education for Kids
Devos is president of Amway Corporation and co-chairman of Kids First! Yes!

Tim Draper, “They’re Running the Children through Public Schools Like Cattle”
Draper is a venture capitalist and the force behind California’s universal school voucher initiative, Proposition 38.


Charter Schools

Kevin Teasley, Growing School Choice in the Community
Teasley is founder of the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation, Indianapolis, and founder of the 21st Century Charter School

Private Schools

A.J. “Jack” Clegg, Accountability: A Way of Life at Nobel

A.J. “Jack” Clegg, It’s Hard to Go Back to Building Widgets
Clegg is chairman and CEO, Nobel Learning Communities, Inc.

Contracting Out

Chris Whittle, Education on a National Scale
Whittle is a media entrepreneur and founder of Edison Schools, Inc.


William J. Bennett, Offering “the Heart and Soul of an Excellent Education”
Bennett is a former U.S. Secretary of Education, author, and spokesperson for K12.com.

Susan Wise Bauer, Learning Is Like Eating Strawberries
Bauer is professor of English at the College of William & Mary and coauthor of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home.


Privately Funded Vouchers

J. Patrick Rooney, If We Love Our Children, It’s Time to Find Alternatives to Public Schools
Rooney is founder of the nation’s first private voucher program, and chairman emeritus of Golden Rule Insurance Company.

Milwaukee Voucher Program

Annette Polly Williams, Milwaukee: “The Model for the Nation”
Williams is a Wisconsin State Representative, chief proponent of the Milwaukee Voucher Program, and “the Rosa Parks” of vouchers.

Michael Joyce, PAVE-ing a Road to Parental Choice
Joyce is president of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Cleveland Voucher Program

Bert L. Holt, Here’s an Opportunity to Make an Impact on Our Schools!
Holt is program director of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program.

Florida Voucher Program

Patrick J. Heffernan, School Choice Is a Matter of Justice
Heffernan is president of Floridians for School Choice.

Defending Voucher Programs

Clint Bolick, “Whatever it Takes”
Bolick is vice president and director of litigation, Institute for Justice, and author of Voucher Wars.

Voucher Research

Jay P. Greene, The Results Are In: Research Documents the Benefits of School Choice
Greene is senior fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and author of The Education Freedom Index.

Paul E. Peterson, Competition in Education: Does it Make a Difference?
Peterson is director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University.

David E. Campbell, Can Tolerance Be Taught?
Campbell is an education researcher at Harvard University and visiting fellow, Center of Democratic Politics at Princeton University.

David W. Kirkpatrick, Responding to the Critics of Vouchers: “What About the Kids?”
Kirkpatrick was executive director of REACH; he is currently a senior education fellow with the U.S. Freedom Foundation.

International Perspective

Toby Linden, The British Are Coming … And Bringing School Reform Lessons
Linden is with the Department of Education and Employment in the United Kingdom.


Economics provides the theoretical underpinning for the advocacy of school choice, but the raw political power wielded by the teacher unions provides the greatest obstacle to the implementation of school choice legislation.

Free Markets: Choices Bring Changes

Milton Friedman, The Only Solution Is Competition
Friedman first proposed the idea of school vouchers in 1955; he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976, and is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

John D. Merrifield, More than a Lifeboat
Merrifield is professor of economics at the University of Texas-San Antonio and author of School Choices: True and False and The School Choice Wars.

Caroline Minter Hoxby, How Best to Improve School Productivity? School Choice!
Hoxby is professor of economics at Harvard University and the author of many innovative school choice research papers.

Eric A. Hanushek, Incentives: The Fundamental Problem in Education
Hanushek is professor of economics with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

William A. Fischel, Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Fischel is professor of economics at Dartmouth College.

Teacher Unions: Preserving the Status Quo

Terry M. Moe, Power-Shift: Teacher Unions and the Movement for School Choice
Moe is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor of political science at Stanford University.

Myron Lieberman, Unions the “Major Obstacle” to Market-Oriented Reforms
Lieberman is chairman of the Education Policy Institute, author of The Teacher Unions, and co-author of Public Education as a Business.

John E. Berthoud, What About the Children?
Berthoud is president and COO of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

Charlene K. Haar, Taking the Parent out of the National PTA
Haar is president of the Education Policy Institute, author of The Politics of the PTA, and co-author of Public Education as a Business.

George A. Clowes is managing editor of School Reform News and conducted all of the interviews cited here. His email address is [email protected].