Lance T. Izumi, J.D.

Lance T. Izumi, J.D.

Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies

Senior Director, Education Studies

Lance T. Izumi is Senior Director of PRI’s Center for Education and Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies. He is the author of the highly acclaimed 2012 book Obama’s Education Takeover (Broadside, Encounter Books), which details the centralization of education policymaking in Washington under President Obama.

He is the co-author of Short-Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California (first and second editions), the first in-depth look at the role of digital learning in our education system. And, he is the executive producer and narrator of a short film based on the book. He co-authored with Esther Wojcicki, the 2015 PRI book Moonshots in Education, which analyzes digital education in America. This successful book is being translated into Spanish and will be published by Random House in 2016.

Mr. Izumi is also the principal author of the groundbreaking series of books Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School. In each volume, he examines the underperformance of middle-class students in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey. His film credits include: co-executive producer of the award-winning PRS-broadcast documentary of the same name. And, he appears in Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s acclaimed film documentary Waiting for Superman.

He is also the co-author of the 2005 PRI book Free to Learn: Lesson from Model Charter Schools, which was used as a guidebook by New Orleans officials after Hurricane Katrina. He has authored numerous PRI studies and reports, plus innumerable op-ed pieces in top U.S. and international publications.

From 2004 to 2015, Mr. Izumi served as a member of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges and served two terms as Board president. In 2015, Mr. Izumi was elected chair of the board of directors of the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

In 2008, The New York Times selected Lance Izumi as one of its online contributors on the presidential race and education issues. In 2009, The New York Times posted Sweden’s Choice, a short film on Sweden’s universal school-choice voucher system, which he wrote and narrated. 

Mr. Izumi served as chief speechwriter and director of writing and research for California Governor George Deukmejian. He also served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan as speechwriter to United States Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

He served five years as a commissioned officer (captain, Public Affairs Office) in the California State Military Reserve. Among his decorations, he received the commendation medal and the achievement ribbon.

Mr. Izumi received his J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law. He received his master of arts in political science from the University of California at Davis and his bachelor of arts in economics and history from the University of California at Los Angeles.