Ronald F. Ferguson is an MIT-trained economist who focuses social science research on economic, social, and educational challenges. He has been on the faculty at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983.
In 2014, he co-founded Tripod Education Partners and shifted into an adjunct role at the Kennedy School, where he remains a faculty affiliated at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI).
For the past several years, Ron’s focus as AGI director has been an initiative first entitled the Boston Basics. Now renamed simply The Basics, the project has moved out of Harvard into a nonprofit organization, The Basics, Inc. Beginning in 2016, implementation has spread to more than three-dozen other cities in The Basics Learning Network.
The Basics Strategy takes a socio-ecological saturation approach, collaborating with many partners to reach extended families with five The Basics Principles of caregiving advice for parenting infants and toddlers.
Research has found that 80% of brain growth happens during the first three years of life.
Also focused on parenting, Ron and co-author Tatsha Robertson have written The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children, published in February, 2019. Based on the life stories of extremely successful young adults, as told by them and their parents, the book reveals on eight principles or parental roles that appear repeatedly throughout the stories of families from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and income-level backgrounds.
Ron holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a PhD from MIT, both in economics. He is happily married and the father of two adult sons.