I’m Jack Jennings. My web site is dedicated to the improvement of public education by using objective analyses based on sound data.

Several years ago, at a congressional hearing which I had organized, committee chair Gus Hawkins asked the disputing witnesses if they could at least agree on what the data showed. The witnesses were taken aback and did not know how to respond. They could only repeat their earlier testimony which was irrelevant to the question. In fact, they were using data not as a guide but rather as a way to support their previously determined positions.

My beliefs were greatly influenced by my experiences in the 27 years I worked for the U.S. Congress. This career was made possible by four Congressmen who were leaders of the Committee on Education and Labor in the House of Representatives. Although these men represented very different parts of the country, they shared a belief that the federal government had a role in education.

Roman Pucinski of Chicago, Carl Perkins of Kentucky, Gus Hawkins of Los Angeles, and Bill Ford of suburban Detroit each believed that the federal government ought to work to improve education and to encourage people to gain as much schooling and training as possible.

Congressman Pucinski, hired me just out of law school, Congressmen Perkins, Hawkins, and Ford retained and promoted me although they had no obligation to do so. In 1995, that portion of my career ended when I retired. I am grateful for the opportunity to create legislation to improve education despite obstacles as seen in the earlier reference to the Hawkins hearing. A specially critical area is aid for poor children, with controversies over accountability, tuition vouchers, and many other ideas.

To help you with your research, the material is arranged by topic and by date published. Also, the newest entries are shown below.

The idea behind Oldies But Goodies is that earlier postings which are still relevant in today’s policy debates ought to be brought back for another viewing. Several times a month different ones will be posted mostly from a pool of 43 blogs that I wrote for the HuffPost. If you can’t wait and want to read all those blogs, go to https://www.huffpost.com/author/jackjenningsdc-435

Oldies But Goodies

A Civil Right to a Good Education
(January 2012)

The results of the latest student test results were disappointing. Both PISA, an internationally sponsored exam, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the U.S. government tests, found that students’ education suffered during the pandemic. Particularly sad were the low scores of children from the families with the lowest incomes.

American educators are working to reverse these trends, but they need help.

The U.S. should enact a law requiring that every child receive a good education. If necessary, this statute could be limited in its range to class action lawsuits and not permit an individual right to sue. That provision would make the administration of the law more manageable without limiting its effectiveness.

We must do more than we are doing now and we should do it in a different way. How many more reports do we need?

Below is a blog I wrote in January, 2012 about this issue for the HuffPost. Jack Jennings

Read more . . .

by Jack Jennings, first published by the HuffPost on January 30, 2012.

* Oldies But Goodies Archive

Literary Works by Jack Jennings

I have had three careers in my life: working for Congress for 27 years, establishing and running a Washington-based think tank, and writing fiction. My first attempt in this new career was the following article on getting older.

Thoughts on Being Old

Los Pensamientos de un Anciano

* Literary Works Archive

Three students in public school classroom
Jack Jennings | Education Policy and Reform | Education Legislation and History #jackjenningsdc
Teacher and three students in public school classroom

Fatigued by School Reform

Latest book by Jack Jennings available online and at many bookstores.

Jack Jennings's new book, Fatigued by School Reform

Fatigued by School Reform, by Jack Jennings

After a half-a-century of school reform, a majority of Americans consider the public schools as worse today than when they attended them. This book concludes that the country’s major reforms missed the mark because they did not address adequately the great influence of family backgrounds on school success, as the Coleman Report of 1966 clearly documented.

Fatigued by School Reform shows the importance of involving parents in their children’s education, and helping poor and lower middle class students to overcome the limitations of low socio-economic status. Also essential is raising teacher quality.

A fundamental part of school reform, however, has been ignored by almost all reformers. If economic and social conditions are improved leading to better family backgrounds, student performance should also improve. Students’ family backgrounds are that influential.

This book was published in 2020. A year later President Biden secured one-year funding that would reduce the number of poor children in school by nearly one-half. Senator Bennet (Dem. Colo.) said that this change was really school reform.

As of summer 2022, Biden and Bennet’s one-year funding has not been extended; both, however, have said they will continue to press forward. Fatigued by School Reform shows the need for this policy or for similar changes.

Long-lasting school improvement is dependent on factors outside the school building. That is the key conclusion of this book.

Available now at:

Barnes and Nobles


Rowman & Littlefield



When Politics Comes First: The Reasons Republicans Shifted to Supporting Private Schools

Mitt Romney has pledged that if elected president he will enact a voucher program that would allow parents of low-income and special needs students "to choose from any district or public charter school, or a private school where permitted by state law." This position...

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A Ray of Sunlight in Education

The nation is awash in pessimism. Persistent unemployment, continuing wars, unexpected earthquakes, searing droughts, and drenching hurricanes have dampened the usual optimism of the American people. This week, a ray of sunlight pierced the clouds of doom. According...

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Federal Aid to the Schools–Wasteful or Helpful?

Federal funding for schools has not been effective, asserted some conservative members of Congress at a recent hearing on extending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the main national law aiding public education. Soon, it is safe to bet, some members...

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Jack Jennings | Education Policy and Reform | Education Legislation and History #jackjenningsdc