Charles E.M. Kolb became the president of Partners 4 Affordable Excellence @EDU in 2015. Mr. Kolb led the Committee for Economic Development in New York City and Washington, D.C., for 15 years, from 1997 until 2012. As president of this independent, nonpartisan business-led research and policy organization, he focused on education and workforce issues, international trade and globalization, money and politics, and macroeconomic proposals affecting the federal budget, Social Security, taxes, and health care.

Prior to joining Partners, Mr. Kolb headed the French-American Foundation – United States, a New York City-based nongovernmental organization dedicated to strengthening the relationship between France and the United States. He was a senior consultant with the Torrenzano Group, a New York communications firm focusing on reputation and high-stakes issues management.

Mr. Kolb has also held several senior-level government positions, including Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy at the White House, where he worked on economic, educational, legal, and regulatory policy initiatives. He served at the U.S. Department of Education as Deputy General Counsel for Regulations and Legislation and was appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to serve as Deputy Undersecretary for Planning, Budget and Evaluation.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kolb has served on the board of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, as well as the Common Cause National Governing Board, and the boards of Transparency International – USA, the Center for Political Accountability, the Ethics Resource Center, and the Maison Francaise of Columbia University.

Mr. Kolb received his juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Balliol College, Oxford University, and an A.B. degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

A prolific writer, Mr. Kolb has written a book on White House policymaking and over 100 columns and articles for law reviews, national and international newspapers, legal publications, and education journals. He also enjoys oil painting and biking.



  • White House Daze: The Unmaming Domestic Policy in the Bush Years

    Charles Kolb
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    Throughout his presidency, George Bush was accused by both Republicans and Democrats of having an administration utterly without a domestic policy agenda. Kolb, who served as the President's Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy, tried to push the Bush administration toward a more vigorous reform agenda. White House Daze is an often biting account of his efforts.

    What happened to 'We are the Change' between 1988 and 1992? The answer to that question explains why George Bush was a one-term President.

    During Bush’s term in office, the Party of new ideas had become the party of incumbency. Many Republicans now took for granted the "electoral lock", the Southern bloc, and Republican control of the executive branch. Their complacency was reinforced by the President's own high approval ratings through the first half of his term. Yet it's fair to say that for the first two years of the Bush Administration we were still spending down Ronald Reagan's inheritance. Even though the actual policies being implemented in many respects were really at odds with Reagan's core philosophy, the country had not woken up to the fact that under George Bush's stewardship federal spending (along with the deficit) was spiraling upward, taxes would start creeping up again, and regulatory policies would impose billions of dollars of new burdens on the public. This was 'change', alright, but the wrong kind of change.