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

Analysis and Commentary

Please Don’t Take Away My Autistic Son’s Treatment

by Paul E. Petersonvia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, June 23, 2016

The FDA might ban the harmless skin shocks that keep him from self-injury, though they have worked.

Paul E. Peterson
Analysis and Commentary

Not Leaving, Just Changing Jobs

by Paul E. Petersonvia EducationNext
Monday, May 23, 2016

This is the last issue of Education Next for which I will serve as editor-in-chief. In an era when many magazines have disappeared from newsstands, it is an honor that so many of you continue to find the journal’s material worthy of your consideration.

Analysis and Commentary

What Was Accomplished In The Era Of Reform Via Federal Regulation?

by Paul E. Petersonvia EducationNext
Thursday, May 12, 2016

As the United States entered the 21st century it was trying to come to grips with a serious education crisis. The country lagged behind its international peers, and its half-century effort to erode racial disparities in student achievement had made little headway. Many people expected action from the federal government.

Featured

The End Of The Bush-Obama Regulatory Approach To School Reform

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

At the turn of the 21st century, the United States was trying to come to grips with a serious education crisis. The country was lagging behind its international peers, and a half-century effort to erode racial disparities in school achievement had made little headway. Many people expected action from the federal government.

Analysis and Commentary

The Ideal Blended-Learning Combination

by Paul E. Peterson, Michael B. Hornvia Education Next
Monday, February 29, 2016

As the use of technology in schools grows rapidly—whether in blended-learning environments, for project-based learning, or just because it’s the fad du jour—how much time students should spend learning on a computer is a point of contention. More and more people seem to agree that digital learning in K–12 classrooms works best when it is used with the oversight of a teacher. 

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Whose Standards?

by Michael Henderson, Paul E. Peterson, Martin R. Westvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Parents of schoolchildren certainly support standardized tests; the Common Core, not so much. Highlights of the latest Education Next poll.

Analysis and Commentary

Public School Teachers More Likely To Use Private Schools For Their Own Kids

by Paul E. Peterson, Samuel Barrowsvia Education Next
Monday, January 11, 2016

The Supreme Court, in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA), is now considering whether all teachers should be required to pay union determined “agency fees” for collective bargaining services, whether or not the teacher wants them. 

Featured

James S. Coleman: Education’s North Star

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A star has at least five points. So I was told by a senior colleague at a time in my life when I was desperately trying to figure out how to burnish just one. Even by that standard, James S. Coleman is securely situated in a celestial constellation, as five points can be discerned even if one looks only at his research on schools.

Featured

James S. Coleman: Education’s North Star

by Paul E. Petersonmentioning Eric Hanushekvia Education Next
Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A star has at least five points. So I was told by a senior colleague at a time in my life when I was desperately trying to figure out how to burnish just one. Even by that standard, James S. Coleman is securely situated in a celestial constellation, as five points can be discerned even if one looks only at his research on schools.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Do German Students Learn More, When Their Schools Get Less Money?

by Paul E. Petersonvia EducationNext
Monday, November 9, 2015

Education analysts often compare U.S. schools to those in Finland, Korea, Poland, even Shanghai. Surprisingly, the nation of Germany rarely appears in this discourse, even though it has much in common with the United States.

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