Abigail Thernstrom: Public Lectures

Television and Radio Since January 2003 | Selected media prior to 2003 | Public Lectures


  • (Brief) talk on the use of racial classifications in education, Fordham Foundation
    ceremony (celebrating our award for “distinguished scholarsthip,”) February 12, 2007,
    Washington DC.
  • “Conversation with the Thernstroms,” Harvard Club, Boston, dinner, January 31, 2007.
  • Luncheon talk to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys,
    Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. January 30, 2007, 12:30-2:00 PM.
  • National Review Institute, Conservative Summit, January 27, 2007, 4:30, panel on
    “Trumping the Race Card” with Ward Connerly and Michael Steele.
  • “Separate and Unequal: The Past, Present, and Future of Segregation in New Jersey
    Public Schools, January 17, 2007, J. Harry Smith Lecture Hall, Essex County College,
    303 University Ave., Newark, N.J., panel on “Trends in Public School Segregation
    Nationally: Extrapolations for NJ and Strategies for Combating Public School
    Segregation.” Other panelists: Howard Fuller, Chairman, The Black Alliance for
    Educational Options; Paul Tractenberg, Esq., Professor, Rutgers School of Law, Newark
    Campus. Moderator: Derrell Bradford—Deputy Director, E3


  • Debate on the Voting Rights Act at Yale Law School with Prof. Charles Ogletree
    Harvard Law School, November 27, 2006.
  • Debate on the Voting Rights Act at Pace Law School with Prof. Randolph McLaughlin,
    October 25, 2006.
  • Talk, AEI, October 16, 2006, 3:30-5:00 PM, on E.D. Hirsch, The Knowledge Deficit,
    with Lynne Cheney, Frederick Hess moderating.
  • “Critical Issues Seminar, ” debate with Richard Rothstein on “The Minority Education
    Achievement Gap: A Provocative Look,” at The National Center for the Preservation of
    Democracy, Los Angeles, evening of October 5, 2006. Debate sponsored by Community
    Advocates, a human relations organization based in Los Angeles.
  • American Political Science Association, annual convention, panel on “Renewing the
    Voting Rights Act,” August 31, 2006, Philadelphia, PA. (Daniel H. Lowenstein, chair.
    Other participants: David T. Canon, Nathanial Persily, and Carol M. Swain.)
  • Testimony Before the Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution,
    Civil Rights and Property Rights, U.S. Senate, Dirksen Senate Office Building Room
    226, hearing on “Renewing the Temporary Provisions of the Voting Rights Act:
    Legislative Options after LULAC v. Perry,” July 13, 2006, 2:00 P
  • Debate sponsored by the Federalist Society (the Civil Rights and Free Speech & Election
    Law Practice Groups), “Reexamination of the Voting Rights Act,” National Press Club,
    Washington, D.C., June 28, 2006, 12:00-2:00. Other Participants: Linda Chavez, Center
    for Equal Opportunity, Erik S. Jaffe, Law Offices of Erik Jaffe, Prof. Daniel Tokaji, Ohio
    State University School of Law.
  • Conference, “Moving Men Into the Mainstream: The Next Steps in Urban Reform,”
    panel I: “Black Men Left Behind? Reflections on Current Research,” Center for Civil
    Innovation, Manhattan Institute, Princeton Club, New York City, June 21, 2006, 8:00AM
    - 12:00PM
  • Testimony before the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Dirksen Senate Office
    Building Room 226, hearing on “Understanding the Benefits and Costs of
    Section 5 Preclearance,” May 17, 2006, 9:30 AM.
  • American Political Science Association, annual convention, “Cutting Edge Research on
    Education Policy: New Empirical Findings,” discussant for papers by Greg Forster and
    by Jay Greene and Marcus A. Winters.
  • Main speaker, Atlanta Lawyers division of the Federalist Society, Atlanta, GA, July 20,
    2006, talk on voting rights.
  • Keynote speaker, Southern Dallas County Educational Consortium Educational Summit,
    “Shared Accountability, Eliminating the Achievement Gap,” Dallas, TX, February 10,


  • Speaker, annual meeting of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, Ft. Myers, FL,
    November 9-11, 2005.
  • Lecture, Fall Lecture Series, Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom
    in the Modern World, Claremont-McKenna College, November 1, 2005.
  • Speaker, James Madison-Joan E. Bowes Distinguished Speaker Series, School of Law,
    University of San Diego, November 2, 2005.
  • Panelist, “Retracing the Struggle: The Legacy of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,”
    Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Annual Fall symposium, October 29,
    2005, 12:30-4:30 PM, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
  • “Rescuing Teacher Education, “Transforming Higher Education,” Tenth Anniversary
    conference of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), October 7, 2005,
    The Metropolitan Club, Washington, DC
  • Talk, “What You Don’t Know About the Voting Rights Act,” Federalist Society
    luncheon, October 6, 2005, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Rayburn House Office Building,
    Room 2154, Washington, D.C. (The other speaker was my co-author, Edward Blum.)
  • Talk, Trustees for Better Teachers, Teacher Quality: How Trustees Can Help
    New England States Regional Seminar, April 22, 2005,Co- sponsored by the
    Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the American Council of Trustees and
    Alumni, University of Massachusetts, Boston Campus Center, Room 3545
  • Keynote address, conference on “Advancing Achievement for ALL Students,” The
    Business Coalition for Educational Excellence at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce,
    April 20, 2005.
  • Talk, Duke Law School Federalist Society chapter, March 31, 2005.
  • Participant/speaker, “O’Connor Project” meeting (on the achievement gap), Harvard Law
    School, March 28, 2005.
  • Keynote speaker, “Call Me Mister” conference (“Innovations in Recruiting, Training and
    Retaining African-American Male Teachers”), Hilton Hotel, Greenville, SC, March 19,
  • Lectures (and media appearances) on the racial gap in academic achievement and school
    choice for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Louisville and Lexington,
    KY, January 25-27, 2005
  • Talk, Goldwater Institute conference, “Arizona in a Global Context: Preparing Students
    to Compete Internationally,” Phoenix, AZ, January 20, 2005.


  • Paper presentation, Ripon Society’s First Annual Congressional Policy Retreat, Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, FL, January 15, 2004.
  • Panelist, two panels “Brown and School Choice” and “Do We Need a New Civil Rights Agenda in 2004—and What are ‘Civil Rights’ Anyhow?”), the annual convention of The Federalist Society, Washington DC, November 13, 2004.
  • Keynote speaker, Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, annual meeting, October 28, 2004.
  • Lecture, “ Critical Choices for the Next Administration: Public Education” The Jepson Leadership Forum 2004-2005, University of Richmond, October 20, 2004.
  • Talk, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Instructional Conference (for teachers and administrators), October 5, 2004.
  • Panelist, Conference on “Black History and Conservative Principles,” The Philadelphia Society, October 2, 2004.
  • Lecture, “Racial Gap in Academic Achievement, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA September 9, 2004.
  • Participant, panel on Brown v. Board of Education, sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University, held at Martha’s Vineyard, MA, August 25, 2004.
  • “Expert Witness” for the defendant, mock trial on “Brown v. United States of America,” exploring the issue of what still needs to be done to fulfill Brown’s promise, American Bar Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, August 7, 2004.
  • Lecture, Summer Institute on "Race and Rights in American History,” Ashland University, August 2, 2004.
  • Panelist, opening plenary luncheon, “Fifty Years of Equity and Excellence,” Education Commission of the States, National Forum, Orlando, Florida, July 14, 2004.
  • Panelist, Forum on Frederick M. Hess, Common Sense School Reform, The Brookings Institution, June 10, 2004
  • Nellie Mae Foundation and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, forum on the “Minority Achievement Gap, Clark University, June, 4, 2004.
  • Talk on the racial gap, Connecticut Board of Education meeting, University of Connecticut Old Law School Building, West Hartford, June 2, 2004.
  • Speaker, panel on “Closing the Racial Gap in Education,” Eleventh National Conference of the National Association of Scholars, The Roosevelt Hotel, New York, May 21, 2003.
  • Talk, panel on Brown v. Board of Education: The Fiftieth Anniversary, Heritage Foundation, May 17, 2004.
  • Luncheon Panel Discussion on "Affirmative Action Today in Schools," sponsored by the American Association for Public Administration, Boston City Hall, May 12, 2003.
  • Talk, Conference, “Race and Education in Post-Desegregation America,” Marking the 50 th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work, Center on Race and Social Problems, May 7, 2004.
  • Talk on the racial gap, Hoover Institution, annual Spring Retreat, Stanford, CA, May 3, 2004.
  • Talk on the racial gap, Federal Society luncheon, Omni Hotel, Los Angeles, April 22, 2004.
  • Participant, Socratic Dialogue in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education , Fred Friendly Seminar, Philadelphia, April 29, 2004.
  • Lecture on racial preferences, Wheaton College, Norton, MA, April 14, 2004.
  • Lecture, “The Racial Gap in Learning,” James Madison Program, Princeton University, April 12, 2004.
  • Lecture, Asquith Forum, Harvard Graduate School of Education, April 7, 2004.
  • Keynote Address, PLATO National Educational Summit, San Diego, CA, March 18, 2004.
  • Participant, Manhattan Institute luncheon panel with New York Deputy Mayor Walcott, David Brennan, and Carol Reich, Harvard Club, NYC, March 9, 2004.
  • Presentation and Discussion, “The Racial Gap in Academic Achievement,” National Academy of Education, Fellows Retreat, South Bend, IN, March 5, 2004.
  • Luncheon talk on the racial gap, Cascade Policy Institute, Portland, OR, February 27, 2004.
  • Talk on the racial gap, Black Box Theatre at Brookline (Mass.) High School, sponsored by School-Within-A-School, February 2, 2004.
  • Luncheon talk, Center for the American Experiment, Minneapolis, MN, January 20, 2004.


  • Talk on No Excuses, Pioneer Institute forum, Boston, MA, December 19, 2003.
  • Talk on No Excuses, The American Enterprise Institute, Washington D.C., October 20, 2003.
  • Talk on No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning, Department of Education
  • Office for Civil Rights staff, Washington, D.C., October 15, 2003.
  • Talk, Education Leaders Council annual conference, Westin Tabor Center, Denver, CO, panel on "No Excuses Schools," September 28, 2002.
  • Talk, “Opportunity for All,” 8 th annual conference of the Education Leaders Council, “Lead, Follow, or Make Way: Setting the Stage for Student Success.” Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, TN, September 19, 2003.
  • Participant, roundtable on “Race, Diversity and Higher Education Twenty-Five Years
  • after ‘Bakke,’” American Political Science Association, annual meeting, August 29, 2003, Philadelphia.
  • Panelist, luncheon, “The Aftermath: Affirmative Action and the U.S. Supreme Court,” American Bar Association annual convention, San Francisco, August 8, 2003.
  • Panelist, “Covering NCLB: On the Lookout for Stories,” Annual Seminar for Reporters New to the K-12 Beat,” Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, Teachers College, Columbia University, July 20, 2003.
  • Luncheon speaker (with Stephan Thernstrom), “The Racial Gap in Learning,” Hechinger Institute Seminar (see above), July 19, 2003.
  • Panelist, "Affirmative Action: Is It Still Needed?" The Urban Institute, April 29, 2003.
  • Talk, conference on civic education, St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, April 12, 2003.


  • Talk, Federalist Society, Miami, FL, October 29, 2002.
  • Talk, Education Leaders Council annual conference, Westin Tabor Center, Denver, CO,
  • September 26-28, 2002, panel on "No Excuses Schools," September 28, 2002.
  • Informal talk, Boston Urban League, April 17, 2002.
  • Testimony, US House of Representative Hearings on the US Commission for Civil Rights, April 11, 2002.
  • Participant, panel discussion on education, Cary Memorial Lecture Series, Museum of Our National Heritage. Lexington, MA, March 2, 2002.
  • Comments in response to papers prepared for "Will No Child Truly Be Left Behind? The Challenges of Making This Law Work" A conference sponsored by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, February 13, 2001, Capital Hilton, Washington D.C.

2001 and earlier


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