Our Mission

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and its affiliated Foundation promote educational excellence for every child in America via quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as advocacy and exemplary charter school authorizing in Ohio.

In order to improve student outcomes, boost upward mobility, and dramatically increase the number of young Americans prepared for college, career, and citizenship, we advance:

  • Ambitious standards in all academic subjects, strong assessments of student learning, aligned and well-implemented curricula, and common-sense accountability for schools and children across the achievement spectrum; and
  • High-quality charter schools and other proven models of educational choice, particularly for the children and families that need them most.

We promote educational improvement by:

  • Producing relevant, rigorous research, analysis, and commentary for education practitioners and for policymakers at the national, state, and local levels;
  • Incubating new ideas, innovations, organizations, and visionary leaders to advance educational excellence;
  • Advancing sound policies in Ohio related to standards, assessments, results-driven accountability, equitable funding, school choice, and other important education reforms; and
  • Serving as a model charter school authorizer and sharing our lessons throughout and beyond Ohio.

Our History

Fordham’s roots go back six decades, when Thelma Fordham Pruett founded the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in memory of her late husband, Dayton Industrialist Thomas B. Fordham. But its current form didn’t come about until 1997, when the foundation was relaunched as a rebirth of the Educational Excellence Network.

Fordham’s Impact

Here at Fordham, we stay focused on our mission to promote educational excellence nationally and in our home state of Ohio. We have encouraged many more states to attend to the progress of high-achieving students in their ESSA accountability systems; we’ve helped maintain the charter movement’s focus on growth and quality; and we’ve called attention to the teacher absenteeism crisis in our schools. In the Buckeye State, we are working to ensure that the coming race to succeed John Kasich in the Governor’s mansion highlights important new reform opportunities, and we have aided Ohio’s charter sector in turning the corner on quality, including progress among the dozen schools in our own authorizing portfolio.

Read more about our latest publications, influence, and impact on the discourse of education reform in our annual report, where we also discuss our advocacy and charter school authorizing work, as well as our funding and finances.

2023 Annual Report Cover

Thomas B. Fordham Institute 2023 Annual Report

Download the Report

Our Recent Funders