Every School

One Citizen's Guide to Transforming EducationDonald P. Nielsen

How would an entrepreneur reform education? In this newly revised and updated version of Every School (2019), Don Nielsen draws on his business career and twenty-five years as a school activist, to offer innovative solutions to the educational challenges facing our country. Lasting change, Nielsen argues, will not come mainly through local school boards, but rather through state legislative action that empowers school administrators to make choices in the interests of their students. The book is essential reading for parents, policymakers and citizens who want to improve the present system, and who have the courage to pursue the recommendations contained within. This updated version now includes a game plan for education reform in a state.

Interview with Donald P. Nielsen

Bruce Chapman Interview with Don Nielsen (Audio only)


Don Nielsen provides unusually clear insight into the complex issues that inhibit high educational attainment of our public school systems. He follows up the diagnosis with a series of feasible and practical recommendations for how to improve our schools. Nielsen’s book should be a must-read for anyone interested in public education.

Allen S. Grossman, Senior Fellow, MBA Class of 1957, Professor of Management Practice Retired, Harvard Business School

In what seems to be a reoccurring challenge with each generation, the question remains how we can best address our nation’s deficiencies in our K–12 educational system. It is a question that must be answered if we are to achieve our highest potential as a nation and in our children. Don Nielsen provides a thoughtful response. He not only addresses the root causes of our challenges, but provides a framework for how to align P-12 education to achieve greater effectiveness and results — corporately and individually. Don’s background as co-founder, President, and Chairman of Hazleton Corporation and as the former President of the Board for the Seattle Public Schools provides a unique and grounded perspective to the solutions he offers.

Dan Martin, PhD, President, Seattle Pacific University

This is an important book — insightful, engaging and anchored in the real problems and opportunities that communities face. Educators, community leaders, and policymakers are fortunate that Don Nielsen has turned his attention and talent to this analysis of contemporary schooling and what we need to do to harness its potential to create responsible citizens. Don is uniquely suited for this role — a community leader, businessman, parent, chair of a large city school board, and informed citizen. The book is practical and revolutionary at the same time and should be on anyone’s required reading list if they care about the future of public education.

Robert C. Pianta, Ph.D., Dean, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Donald Nielsen

Senior Fellow and Chairman, American Center for Transforming Education
Donald P. Nielsen is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute and Chairman of the Institute's program on public education reform. For nearly 30 years, he has devoted his life work to transforming public education. For two years, he traveled the country studying America's public education system and authored, Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education. Mr. Nielsen was awarded the Harvard Business School's 2004 Alumni Achievement Award. In 2009, he received the Leadership Award from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.