Conceptual Education Program


Program Overview

The Conceptual Education Program is a designated fund to advance educational reform by promoting a rational approach to primary and secondary education, based on the principles of Objectivism.

To engage in educational reform is to strike at the root of cultural reform. The failure of American education was a recurrent theme in Ayn Rand’s commentary, highlighted by her 1970 exposé “The Comprachicos,” which chronicled the role of Progressive education in creating a generation of drug addicts rebelling against reason and freedom. “It is the educational establishment that has created this national disaster,” Rand wrote. “The educational establishment has to be fought — from bottom to top, from cause to consequences, from nursery schools to universities, from basic philosophy to campus riots, from without and from within.”

Educational reform means to advance the one in the many: It is the solution to not just one area of expertise, but across all areas of expertise and human endeavor. Resolving America’s educational crisis will ultimately ameliorate all social issues.

Program Founder

The Conceptual Education Program was created by a generous gift from a dear friend of the Institute, Ed Thompson.

Inspired by Rand’s call for action, Ed Thompson has been fighting for educational reform. In 2021 he founded the Conceptual Education Fellowship at ARI, which funds intellectual work applying Ayn Rand’s ideas to educational issues.

Now Mr. Thompson has spearheaded the expansion of that Fellowship into the Conceptual Education Program.

Mr. Thompson is alarmed about the state of American schools. He recognizes, with the Institute, that freedom will continue to decline so long as our educational system does not properly educate children. “I am passionate about reforming the educational system because I understand clearly that it is fully responsible for creating our national disaster. The Conceptual Education Program is my way of galvanizing support for educational reform. I see the Conceptual Education Program as a save-the-world endeavorfix education, fix everything. Ultimately, fixing America’s educational system will remedy every other social corruption.”

What kind of reform? A proper education consists of a conceptual education. In her article “The Comprachicos” in 1970, Ayn Rand wrote,

The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life—by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i.e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past—and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own effort.

Statement from ARI’s CEO

Tal Tsfany, ARI’s CEO, encourages others to support this new initiative: “The battle to reform the educational system can and must be won with ideas, with effective voices advocating a proper approach to education and working to put it into action. This program will support an ambitious range of activities advocating rational ideas in the field of education in order to engage in this battle.”


To support our intellectual efforts in the battle for educational reform, click below to visit the donation page for the program. All funds donated through this link go directly to the Conceptual Education Program.