Influential People

December 12, 2006 1 min read

The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, with support from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, has conducted a study of the factors that have influenced the educational policy landscape during the past decade.

The 13 individuals who make up the short list of highly influential people span a range of roles, backgrounds, and institutional sectors. The top-ranked person, based on expert ratings, is Bill Gates. Billionaire, founder of Microsoft Corp., and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he has become a leading voice for educational reform. President Bush occupies the second spot on the survey results. Mr. Bush is joined by other political leaders, including Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. George Miller, and former President Clinton, as well as former Govs. James B. Hunt Jr. and Richard W. Riley, a former U.S. Secretary of Education.

Many others on the list have ties to the federal government, including Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Reid Lyon, the force behind the Reading First initiative. Kati Haycock of the Education Trust, Mike Smith of the The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Chester E. Finn Jr. from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation join Mr. Gates in representing the non-profit sector. The academy is represented throughout the list, but only Linda Darling-Hammond, an education professor at Stanford University, has a primary post at a university.

How the influential people rank:
(Click on a name to download an individual influence report in PDF format; a new window will open.)

1. Bill Gates

2. George W. Bush

3. Kati Haycock

4. G. Reid Lyon

5. Edward Kennedy

6. Bill Clinton

7. (tie) Richard W. Riley

7. (tie)James B. Hunt Jr.

9. Marshall (Mike) Smith

10. (tie) Linda Darling-Hammond

10. (tie) Margaret Spellings

12. George Miller

13. Chester E. Finn, Jr.

Do you think these individuals have been the most influential voices in education over the past decade? Tell us what you think.

A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.