Jeanne Allen

Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform, is considered one of the nation’s most accomplished and relentless advocates for education reform, and a recognized expert, speaker and author in the field. She founded the Center for Education Reform (CER) in 1993 and led the nationwide fight to ensure that the innovation, freedom, flexibility and parent power became the foundation for all schooling in the US.
Jeanne counsels a number of entrepreneurial education and technology companies, including HotChalk, Inc., CommonLit, and the Modern States Education Alliance. Major ed tech investors and accelerators, including 1776 and GSV Labs, count Jeanne as one of their key mentors. She serves on several boards, including the Washington Leadership Academy in Washington, DC and the Challenge Charter School in Chandler, AZ.

The Education Industry Association honored Jeanne with its “Friend of Education Award” in 2012. Additional honors include Working Mother’s “Most Powerful Moms in Education” and the Black Alliance for Educational Options Champion Award in 2013.

A frequent commentator in television and media, Jeanne has also published hundreds of articles and commentaries in newspapers and journals and as well as her own blog, Reality Check-In. Her honesty and linear thinking on issues such as reform, choice for parents, and teacher accountability has made her articles in outlets such as The Huffington Post essential reading. Her book, The School Reform Handbook: How to Improve Your Schools (1995) ignited parent-led efforts for education reform and her latest publication Education Reform: Before it Was Cool (2014) documents critical milestones during her work over the past 20-plus years.

Jeanne has been a trusted advisor to presidential administrations, governors, and lawmakers, and continues to provide valuable counsel to policymakers, philanthropists and her colleagues in education. She began her career on Capitol Hill and was a senior official in the US Department of Education from 1983-1988. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dickinson College and a masters of science in education entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania.

Among her charitable and civic work, Jeanne is on the Leadership Council of the National Italian American Foundation, is a Dame of Malta, and an active member of the John Carroll Society. When time permits, she enjoys visiting the village of her family’s origin in Campania, Italy and time on the water, especially with her husband Dr. Kevin Strother, an educator, musician and charter boat captain. Her four young adult children are in various stages of school and work, some not surprisingly in the education reform arena.

Episode Appearances

Episode 84: Post Pandemic K-12 Education: Why We Don’t Want a Return to “Normal” with Jeanne Allen


Guest(s): Jeanne Allen

What comes next when we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown? What is “normal” is going to be like? Well in the case of America’s K-12 schools we should not want a return to normal, where “normal” means a nation where fewer than 30% of students – and fewer than 15% in poor communities – read, write, spell, do math or know history, science, or civics on grade level.

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Episode 28: The Schools We Need with Jeanne Allen and Sarah Walton


Guest(s): Sarah WaltonJeanne Allen

America’s K-12 education system and institutions were designed in a different era for a different society, and we are at grave risk today from this obsolete system, which fails to prepare all children to succeed as adults. In fact, the system we have now was never designed or intended to reach all children.

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