Paul E. Peterson

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

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

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A Chance for Choice

by Paul E. Petersonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

By appointing Betsy DeVos education secretary, President Trump shows he’s listening to parents. 


Trump’s Education Pick: A Win For Public-School Parents

by Paul E. Petersonvia Wall Street Journal
Monday, December 12, 2016

School choice might be the answer for parents who want more for their kids.

Analysis and Commentary

Pence, Trump, And The Ed Reform Agenda

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Thursday, November 10, 2016

With Donald Trump set to enter the Oval Office, Vice President-elect Michael Pence seems likely to shape the federal role in education for the next four years. As a former governor who made school reform a top priority, Pence will interpret the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a barrier to federal oversight of state and local decisions.

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One Brainchild Left Behind

by Paul E. Petersonvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 21, 2016

The federal drive for school reform has ground to a halt. Now the long struggle is back in the hands of states and communities. 

Analysis and Commentary

Is School Reform Dead?

by Paul E. Peterson, Martin R. Westvia Washington Examiner
Saturday, September 3, 2016

The signals from both the Republican and Democratic political campaigns have not been good for those who seek excellence in our K-12 school system.


Why Does The NAACP Oppose Charter Schools?

by Paul E. Petersonvia US News and World Report
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The NAACP, at its national convention in Cincinnati, voted this July to support "a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools." In Massachusetts, a local NAACP leader is campaigning against the charter-expansion referendum bill on the state ballot in November. 


Clinton Abandons The Middle On Education

by Paul E. Peterson, Martin R. Westvia Wall Street Journal
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Most rank-and-file Democrats disagree with the party platform.

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.