Solmon, Lewis C. 1942-2007 (Lewis Calvin Solmon)

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Solmon, Lewis C. 1942-2007 (Lewis Calvin Solmon)


See index for CA sketch: Born July 17, 1942, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; died of complications from a stroke, December 17, 2007, in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, CA. Economist, educator, administrator, consultant, and author. Solmon dedicated his life to improving the education of America's schoolchildren by improving America's teachers—by controversial means if necessary. He carried out his mission in various ways. Solmon taught education at the University of California in Los Angeles from 1974 to 1991, serving along the way as dean of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and as an executive officer of the Higher Education Research Institute. His own research convinced him that the teaching profession was in sore need of reform and that student achievement would improve if teachers enhanced their own skills and took more responsibility for their students' learning. He promoted the measurement of teacher performance by linking it to student performance and was perfectly willing to reward teachers with incremental pay increases linked to improvements in student performance. In 1991 Solmon became the founding president of the Milken Institute, an economic research center, or "think tank," which six years later spawned the Milken Family Foundation, dedicated specifically to exploring ways to enhance the quality of teaching in America's schools. The foundation is responsible, among other things, for the annual Milken Educator Award, a 25,000-dollar prize for outstanding teachers. In 2005 Solmon became the president of the foundation's National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, with the goal of breathing new life into the teaching profession through various elements of its Teacher Advancement Program. Though teacher unions have strenuously opposed the principle of performance pay (as opposed to pay increases based on seniority), proponents claim that it can indeed be linked statistically to increases in student achievement. Solmon wrote or edited more than thirty books to promote his theories, including How Do We Get the Graduates We Want? A View from the Firing Lines (1992), Improving Student Achievement: Reforms That Work (2005), The Last Silver Bullet? Technology for America's Public Schools (2006); Challenges of School Reform: Implementation, Impact, and Sustainability (2006), and How Stakeholders Can Support Teacher Quality (2007).



Chicago Tribune, December 21, 2007, sec. 3, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2007, p. B8.