Edward B. Fiske, the founder and editor of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, is a former Education Editor of the New York Times who is known around the world for his writing on topics ranging from trends in American higher education to primary school reform in Southeast Asia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Fiske established the guide in 1982 when, covering higher education for the Times, he sensed the need for a publication that would help students and parents navigate the increasingly complex college admissions scene. The guide, an annual publication, immediately became a standard part of college admissions literature and it is now the country’s best-selling college guide. In addition to the Fiske Guide to Colleges, Fiske has co-authored a range of other books on college admissions with Bruce G. Hammond. These include the Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College, What to Do When for College, Real College Essays that Work and Nailing the New SAT.
Fiske has teamed up with his wife, Helen F. Ladd, who is Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University, on three major projects. In 1998 they were based at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, where, with support from a Fulbright Grant, they did research on that country’s experiment with parental choice and competition in the delivery of public education. Their book, When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale was published in 2000 by the Brookings Institution Press. In 2002 another Fulbright Grant took Fiske and Ladd to the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where they studied that country’s efforts to create an equitable and democratic state education system in the post-apartheid era. Their book, Elusive Equity: Education Reform in Post-Apartheid South Africa, was published in July 2004, also by Brookings, with a South African paperback edition published in May 2005 by HSRC Pres.
Ladd and Fiske are also co-editors of the Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy, which was published in 2008 by Routledge and is the official handbook of the American Education Finance Association. Fiske is also author of the highly praised 1991 study of systemic school reform in the United States entitled Smart Schools, Smart Kids (Simon & Schuster).
Fiske joined the New York Times in 1964 as a news clerk and, after serving as Religion Editor, became the Education Editor in 1974. He edited the Times’ quarterly education supplements and in 1983 authored an award-winning series on Japanese schools. In 1991 Fiske left the Times to pursue his interest in education in developing countries. He spent 1993-94 in Cambodia, where he worked with the International Rescue Committee on a UNICEF-sponsored cluster school project in the northwestern city of Battambang. He also worked with the Asian Development Bank and authored Using Both Hands, an analysis of the situation of girls and women in education in Cambodia.
Fiske’s journalistic travels have taken him to more than 60 countries. In 1995 he went to the former Soviet Union in behalf of the Academy for Educational Development to assess the effects of a major training program sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and in 1996 he visited Alaska and the Russian Far East to evaluate an exchange program run by the U.S. Information Agency. Other assignments have included a 1996 study of the politics of school decentralization for the World Bank; a series of reports for UNESCO, including the final report of the World Forum on Education for All, held in Dakar, Senegal in April 2000; a 2001 report for the Aga Khan Foundation on its schools in northern Pakistan; and multiple reports for the U. S. Agency for International Development. He has written several reports for the Asia Society, including Asia in the Schools: Preparing Young Americans for Today’s Interconnected World and Learning in a Global Age: Knowledge and Skills for a Flat World.
Fiske was born in Philadelphia. He attended the William Penn Charter School and Wesleyan University, from which he was graduated summa cum laude. He received master’s degrees in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and in political science from Columbia University and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Occidental College and other institutions.
He is a regular contributor to the International Herald-Tribune. In addition to the New York Times, his articles and book reviews have appeared in American Prospect, Atlantic Monthly, Education Week, Chronicle of Higher Education, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New Republic and other national publications. He has received numerous awards for education reporting.
A resident of Durham, North Carolina, Fiske serves on a number of boards of non-profit organizations working in the fields of access to college and international understanding. He is vice-chair of College for Every Students, based in Vermont, and he is chair of the Center for International Understanding, a public service program of the University of North Carolina with headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., He is a founding member of the board of the Central Park School for Children, a charter school in Durham.
See Ted’s full CV and bio at www.EdwardBFiske.com.