The foundation's work in education seeks to advance understanding and acceptance of effective reform strategies that incorporate the following principles: the need for dramatically higher standards; an education system designed for and responsive to the needs of its users; verifiable outcomes and accountability; equality of opportunity; a solid core curriculum taught by knowledgeable, expert instructors; and educational diversity, competition, and choice.
Thelma Fordham Pruett established the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in 1959 in honor of her late husband, who was an industrialist and prominent civic leader in Dayton, Ohio. The foundation mainly funded charitable organizations and educational institutions in the Dayton area until Pruett's death in 1995, when it decided to focus on national education reform. At that time, the foundation moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C., and also assumed primary sponsorship of the Educational Excellence Network, an umbrella organization that promotes education reform.
The foundation's Web site offers comprehensive information on several key reform issues: Charters & Choice, Testing & Accountability, Curriculum & Instruction, and Teachers & Principals. Each area features an overview of the issue; selected reports and publications; relevant articles from Education Gadfly, the organization's weekly bulletin of news and analysis; and links to related organizations and projects. In addition to those four main topics, the site offers similar pages for Dayton Projects and a range of Additional Topics.