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

The Education Exchange: Impact Of Magnet Schools In San Diego

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, June 18, 2018

In San Diego, one in ten students attends a magnet school, and because admission is sometimes determined by lottery, researchers have been able to study the impact of attending a magnet school on long-term outcomes.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Effects Of Public And Private School On Adult Life

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, June 11, 2018

Are graduates of private schools as active in the public sphere as graduates of public schools? David Sikkink, an associate professor of sociology at Notre Dame, finds that when it comes to volunteering and charitable giving, graduates of private religious schools are more likely to be engaged.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Tennessee Commissioner Of Education Candice McQueen

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, June 4, 2018

A new analysis by Education Next finds that the state that has raised its proficiency standards the most over the past 10 years is Tennessee. In this episode, Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss how her state has raised its standards and made other changes to advance student learning.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Understanding The Social Aspect Of Truancy

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, May 21, 2018

Schools are paying increasing attention to the problem of truancy, and many states are including an indicator measuring chronic absenteeism in their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: When For-Profit Colleges Lose Access To Federal Aid

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, May 14, 2018

The Trump administration may undo regulations that punish for-profit colleges if their graduates are unable to earn enough money to repay their student loans. In this episode, Paul Peterson is joined by the authors of a new study that examines the impact on student enrollment in for-profit colleges and community colleges when the federal government cracks down on for-profit colleges with high rates of students defaulting on their loans.

Analysis and Commentary

Phonics Makes A Comeback In England

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, May 7, 2018

A little over a decade ago, a new government in the United Kingdom issued a report recommending that early reading instruction include phonics. What has been the impact of that change in approach to teaching reading?

Analysis and Commentary

Effects Of Refugee Students On Non-Refugee Students

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, April 30, 2018

After a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, thousands of Haitians moved to the U.S. and enrolled their children in school here. David Figlio, Dean of the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss his research on the impact these Haitian refugee students had on the non-refugee students who were already attending those schools.

Analysis and Commentary

Latest NAEP Results: Obama Administration Fails U. S. Students

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

D minus. That’s the generous grade to give the Obama Administration—based on student test performances in math and reading over the eight years it held office (2009-2017). Its final grade became apparent just this week when the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the official report card for U. S. schools nationwide, released the 2017 results.

Analysis and Commentary

Exclusive Analysis: New Harvard Study Shows Public Support For Charter Schools Has Jumped 10 Points In Last Year

by Paul E. Peterson, Albert Chengvia The 74 Million
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

For Democrats and Republicans alike, charter schools have long provided a happy compromise between vouchers for religious schools and no school choice at all. Charters give families an alternative schooling option but remain publicly funded, secular institutions authorized by government agencies. They have been warmly endorsed by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

Featured

Secret Finding From PDK Poll: Support For Vouchers Is Rising

by Paul E. Petersonvia EducationNext
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The just released PDK survey of U. S. adults reveals an upward shift in public support for vouchers of 12 percentage points over the past four years, with 8 of those percentage points gained since 2015. Meanwhile, voucher opposition fell by 18 percentage points over this same four-year time...

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