Paul E. Peterson

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
National Academy of Education
Biography: 

Paul E. Peterson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, and editor in chief of Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research. He is also the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. His research interests include educational policy, federalism, and urban policy. He has evaluated the effectiveness of school vouchers and other education reform initiatives.

In 2006, Peterson was appointed leader of the Florida state Education Citizen Review Group and is a member of the Department of Education’s independent review panel, which is evaluating No Child Left Behind. In 2003, he was awarded the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Prize for Distinguished Scholarship. Among the many other honors and fellowships Peterson has received are a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a German Marshall Fund of the United States Fellowship, and a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book published in politics, government, or international relations. The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center reported that Peterson’s studies on school choice and vouchers were among the country’s most influential studies of education policy.

Peterson is a former director of governmental studies at the Brookings Institution and has been elected to the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His most recent book, with Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann, Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School, documents the large economic costs of a stagnant K-12 education system. Other works include Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning, School Money Trials: The Legal Pursuit of Educational Adequacy; The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools; Reforming Education in Florida: A Study Prepared by the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education; Generational Change: Closing the Test Score Gap; and Choice and Competition in American Education.

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Recent Commentary

Featured Commentary

A Rescue Plan For The Black Family

by Paul E. Petersonvia New York Daily News
Monday, January 19, 2015

Far from addressing the marriage problem, the federal government exacerbated it.

Jeb Bush
Blogs

Simply By Forming an Exploratory Committee, Jeb Bush Places School Reform On The National Agenda

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

With the announcement by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush that he is exploring a run for the presidency in 2016, school reform has suddenly leaped to the political front page.

Blogs

Do Teachers Support the Vergara Decision?

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In June, a California court ruled, in Vergara v. State of California, that the state’s tenure and seniority laws are unconstitutional. Minority students have filed a similar case in New York, with more to come elsewhere.

Featured Commentary

How the Education Spendthrifts Get Away With It

by Paul E. Petersonvia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Money for schools has again become a campaign issue. In the Florida governor's race, Charlie Crist says that the "first thing [Gov. Rick Scott ] does when he comes in . . . is cut education by $1.3 billion."

Blogs

Demonstrate College Readiness If You Want a Federal Grant or Loan

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Among those entering college for the first time, 45% of those going to 2-year institutions and 28% of those attending 4-year institutions do not return the next year.  While transfers are abundant, and many students return to college later on, far too many students are failing to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them because they are not college-ready.

Blogs

What Parents Think About Their Public Schools

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If one judged public opinion by conventional public discourse, one would soon conclude that parents in the United States are neatly divided between devotees of district-operated schools and choiceniks determined to avoid them. 

Interviews

Paul Peterson on Education Next

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Sunday, September 7, 2014

Senior Fellow Paul Peterson interviews James Ryan on the the legacy of desegregation policy on American schools.

Blogs

Comparing PDK and Education Next Polls

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just released this week are two major education polls, one by Education Next (EdNext), a journal of opinion and research, and the other by Phi Delta Kappan (PDK), a journal that serves the alumnae of schools of education. Both survey nationally representative samples of the U. S. adult population. EdNext polls about 5,000 respondents, including a nationally representative sample of teachers, by means of an online survey administered by Knowledge Networks. PDK poses questions to about 1,000 respondents in a poll administered by Gallup.

Blogs

Comparing PDK and Education Next Polls

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just released this week are two major education polls, one by Education Next (Ednext), a journal of opinion and research, and the other by Phi Delta Kappan (PDK), a journal that serves the alumnae of schools of education. Both survey nationally representative samples of the U. S. adult population. Ednext polls about 5,000 respondents, including a nationally representative sample of teachers, by means of an online survey administered by Knowledge Networks. PDK poses questions to about 1,000 respondents in a poll administered by Gallup.

Blogs

Political Polarization Needlessly Divides the Public on Common Core and NCLB

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Political polarization is making it increasingly difficult to sustain support for policy undertakings that a majority of the public supports. Narrow interest groups and small minorities are twisting public opinion through slogans and rhetoric to which sensation-mongering elements in the media are giving excessive attention. Such is my conclusion after reviewing eight years of Education Next (Ednext) polling on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

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