Andrew J. Coulson was the director of Cato's Center for Educational Freedom from 2005 to 2015 and a senior fellow from 2015 until his death in February 2016. Previously, he was senior fellow in education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He served on the advisory council of the E.G. West Centre for Market Solutions in Education at the University of Newcastle, UK, and contributed to books published by the Fraser Institute and the Hoover Institution.

Coulson was author of Market Education: The Unknown History, the only book to address contemporary education policy questions by drawing on case studies from across the entire span of recorded human history. He also wrote for academic journals, including the Journal of Research in the Teaching of English, the Journal of School Choice, and the Education Policy Analysis Archives and for newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Canada's Globe and Mail. His documentary series, School Inc., is scheduled for television broadcast later this year.