The Hoover Institution hosted "Education 20/20 Speaker Series: Rod Paige and Peter Wehner" on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. EDT.

Our Education 20/20 speaker series continued on May 1, featuring two eminent conservative thinkers: Rod Paige, Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush after distinguished service as Houston school superintendent; and Pete Wehner, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center after serving in the Reagan Department of Education and Bush 43 White House.

Paige argues that the modern era of education reform was, in fact, a period of stagnation, particularly at the high school level. To change course, education-minded conservatives must champion the principle of individual student responsibility and effort. While reformers focused on the quantity and quality of what schools do, they neglected an essential lever: student effort. International comparisons show that places that draw such effort forth from young people have impressive results. To follow suit, U.S. schools must take two important steps: incentivize individual effort by holding students accountable via real consequences based on clear results, such as end-of-course exams; and foster a culture that emphasizes individual effort over innate abilities and that celebrates academics over ball games and socializing.

Wehner explores America's long history of making character education a central part of schooling. That centrality was taken for granted well into the twentieth century. Indeed, character education was often viewed as the primary objective of public schools, along with civics and citizenship. But the rise in relativism about morality and decline in willingness to distinguish right from wrong have taken a heavy toll. Wehner argues that the abandonment of instilling virtue in young people does them a lasting disservice and notes that self-discipline is twice as important as intelligence in predicting academic achievement.

Watch the Video from the Event

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 4:00 PM PT
US and China Chess Pieces
A Fresh Start: Safeguarding People, Rights, And Research Amid US-China Competition
The Hoover Project on China’s Global Sharp Power, the Asian American Scholar Forum, and the Committee of 100 invite you to A Fresh Start:… Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 5:00 PM PT
The Siberia Job | A Book Event
The Hoover Institution hosts The Siberia Job | A Book Event on Wednesday, June 7, 2022 at 5:00 pm PT. Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Thursday, June 8, 2023
Inputs to Prosperous Economies
The Hoover Institution hosts Inputs to Prosperous Economies: Spring 2023 Conference Of The Working Group on the Foundations of Long-run Prosperity on… Hoover Institution, Stanford University
overlay image