Arnold F. Fege is President of Public Advocacy for Kids, a national group devoted to federal and national education and child advocacy policy with a focus on low-income and special needs children and families. His personal and professional passion is to fight for the rights of parents and families who have no voice in the education of their children, in the United States and internationally, and bridging the practical needs of the local level with common sense national policy.
Fege has over 30 years of public education and child advocacy experience. He has extensive local school district experience as a public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and desegregation director. As a staff person for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, he helped draft provisions in the original ESEA legislation, and since that time, he has been involved in each reauthorization of ESEA. He has recently authored Getting Ruby Quality Public Education: Forty-Two Years of Building Demand for Quality Public Schools through Parental and Public Involvement in the Harvard Education Review.
Most recently, he was Director of Public Engagement and Advocacy for the Public Education Network, representing 82 community-based local education funds in urban school districts that focus on improved educational opportunities for poor and disadvantaged children. At PEN, he irected the PEN/Education Week annual national poll, coordinated the creation of the PEN index to measure community civic behaviors related to quality public schools, co-authored the PEN Guide on NCLB Parental and Community Involvement, and represented PEN on the Hill.
He was the Director of the National PTA’s Office of Governmental Relations in Washington, D.C. for over 17 years, and led the National Coalition for Public Education. He also served as a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering urban problems and education, and was a Vietnam War correspondent for two years filing stories for the Associated Press. He is on numerous boards including the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Education Policy and Leadership Center.
Fege was the recipient of the 1969 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Peace Award, the 1970 United Nations Journalism Award for Excellence in Analytical International Newswriting, a 1983 Roosevelt Center Congressional Child Advocacy Award, the 1991 Jefferson Foundation Religious Liberty Honor, and the 1998 National PTA President’s Recognition for Outstanding Child Advocacy, and the 2000 Nelson Mandela Award for International Education Leadership and Social Justice. He has degrees from Hope College, Northwestern University, Washington University, Oberlin College and Teachers College, Columbia University.