Presented with the kind permission of Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
Special thanks to Steven Maggi.

FLUNKED: A story of failure. A formula for hope.

America, we have a problem.

Results of national and international tests show that our students are falling further and further behind. The average American student is no longer able to compete with foreign students, and in many cases, they’re failing to meet even basic academic standards.

Success rates are plummeting, and remediation and dropout rates are skyrocketing. Students entering the current American education system are in for a grim ride. It truly is a national scandal.

One size does not fit all …

Complaining about the problem is easy, but it produces few productive results — especially when many schools nationwide are truly “getting it right.” Flunked is the story of these schools—their founders, leaders, and students—who are breaking the mediocre mold by attaining great results in terms of college preparation, high test scores, and graduating competent workers for tomorrow’s economy. Discovering that one size truly does not fit all, they are finding different ways to make it work in their area, with their students.

The main characters of Flunked are our “heroes,” men and women from all walks of life—parents, teachers, principals, business professionals—who are making a difference to our students. These individuals have defied the odds, pressed the system, and succeeded in seemingly impossible situations. Through it all, they have proven that solutions in education are available here and now, if we will only follow their examples …

Featured Experts:


“Andrew J. Coulson is the director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom. He is the author of the 1999 book Market Education: The Unknown History and a contributor to books published by the Fraser Institute and the Hoover Institution. Coulson has written for numerous academic journals, including the Journal of Research in the Teaching of English and the Education Policy Analysis Archives and for newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the Detroit Free Press, and the Seattle Times. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the E.G. West Centre for Market Solutions in Education at the University of Newcastle, UK. Coulson was a Senior Fellow in Education Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and is editor of School Choices. Prior to entering the field of education a decade ago, he was a systems software engineer with Microsoft Corp.”


“Guilbert Hentschke is the Richard T. Cooper and Mary Catherine Cooper Chair in Public School Administration at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, where he served as dean from 1998 to 2000. Currently he directs programs in the business of education, including the Galaxy Institute for Education and the school business management program. An author of numerous books and articles on education reform, charter schools, and the business of education, he currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the finance and governance of emerging and traditional educational institutions in the U.S. and abroad.”

“Hentschke currently serves on the boards of directors of several education-oriented organizations, including the Aspen Education Group, Century/LIFT, Excellent Education Development, The National Center on Education and the Economy, WestEd Regional Educational Laboratory, the Education Industry Association, and several Los Angeles charter schools.”

“Prior to his tenure at USC, Hentschke served in academic administrative and faculty positions at the University of Rochester, Columbia University, the Chicago Public Schools, and the East Side Union High School District (CA). He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and economics at Princeton University and his masters and doctorate in education and business at Stanford University.”


“John Merrifield is Professor of Economics in the College of Business at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, CA; the author of The School Choice Wars (2001) and School Choices (2002).”

(In order of appearance)

  • Joe Mantegna
  • Bill Gates
  • Bill Cosby
  • John Merrifield
  • Andrew Coulson
  • Charlie Hoff
  • Bob Herbold
  • Guilbert Hentschke
  • Steve Barr
  • Matt Wingard
  • Ben Chavis
  • David Scortt
  • Angie Dorman
  • Eric Dominguez
  • Heidi Dominguez
  • Karen Jones
  • Bill Proser
  • Dan Nicklay
  • Howard Lappin
  • Donn Harris
  • Jason Singer
  • Matt Sween
  • Caitlyn Snaring
  • Traci Snaring
  • Dennis Pantano
  • Therese Holliday
  • Lynn Harsh
  • Jeff Kropf