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School Choice & Charters

John E. Chubb, Education Researcher and National Private School Leader, Dies

By Arianna Prothero — November 13, 2015 1 min read
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John E. Chubb, a prominent education researcher and the president of the National Association of Independent Schools, died Nov. 12. He was 61 years old.

Prior to taking the reins at NAIS in 2013, Chubb wore multiple hats in the education world as a teacher at Stanford University, as a founder of Edison Schools, an education management company, and as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, among many other roles.

He was also an influential figure in the school choice movement.

In his widely-publicized book Politics, Markets and America’s Schools, Chubb and co-author Terry M. Moe argued that more school autonomy and parental choice improved student performance, and that states should encourage competition between public and private schools. (I encourage all to read this 1990 Education Week feature written on Chubb as he was gearing up for the book’s release.)

“We were devastated by the news of the passing of John E. Chubb, one of the truly most impactful people of the entire school choice movement and an intellectual giant,” said Jeanne Allen, founder and president-emeritus of The Center for Education Reform in a statement. “Scholar, executive, educator and friend, he will be sorely missed.”

Chubb also helped advise President George H.W. Bush and former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on education policy.

Colleagues say Chubb remained a researcher at heart, even after becoming president at NAIS, and was deeply committed to growing the independent school sector. (Former Education Week opinion blogger Peter Gow did a Q&A with John Chubb shortly after taking over leadership at NAIS, which you can read here).

“During his time at NAIS, John sought to bring national attention to the work of independent schools,” said Katherine Dinh, the NAIS Board of Trustees Chair, in a statement published Friday on the organization’s website.

“He believed that our schools are a driving force in education, and he envisioned NAIS as a vibrant community of schools that serve a growing student body,” she said.

The family has not released a cause of death.

Commentaries by John E. Chubb from the Education Week Archives:

Photo by James Kegley for NAIS

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.