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 Michael Henderson and Martin R. West, Teachers versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them, shows the comparison of the education policy views of both teachers and the public as a whole and reveals a deep, broad divide between the opinions held by citizens and those who teach in the public schools. Other works include Endangering Prosperity: A Global View of the American School (coauthor with Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann), 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: The Inner Workings Of The Providence Public School District

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, December 9, 2019

David Steiner, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the review of the Providence Public School District recently undertaken by Johns Hopkins. The review includes distressing news on proficiency in math and reading, teacher morale and deteriorating facilities.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Building A Case Against The Blaine Amendments

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, December 2, 2019

Erica Smith, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, a case that takes a deep look at school choice and which could declare the so-called Blaine Amendments unconstitutional in 38 stages.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: How To Build A 21st-Century School System

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, November 18, 2019

Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at OECD, sits down with Paul E. Peterson to discuss the upcoming PISA results, how high-performing nations work to support teachers, and what school systems can do to better prepare students for the future. The 2019 PISA results will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Observations From Inside A Success Academy School

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Robert Pondiscio, a senior fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, sits down with Paul E. Peterson to discuss his time observing a Success Academy school in the Bronx, and his new book, “How the Other Half Learns.”

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: School Choice And Blaine Amendments In Montana

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, November 4, 2019

Richard Komer, a former Senior Litigation Attorney at the Institute for Justice, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, a case which could declare the Blaine Amendments in 38 state constitutions unconstitutional.

Analysis and Commentary

What To Make Of The 2019 Results From The ”Nation’s Report Card”

by Paul E. Peterson, Michael J. Petrillivia Education Next
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Shame on us," "Return to accountability," "Focus on the low-performing students," and other reactions to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress results.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: What Parents Can Do To Help Kids Prepare For College

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, October 28, 2019

Diane Tavenner, the cofounder and CEO of Summit Public Schools, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss her new book, “Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life,” and a series of tips and questions for parents as their children begin the college application process.

Analysis and Commentary

What To Expect From The “Nation’s Report Card”

by Paul E. Peterson, Michael J. Petrillivia Education Next
Thursday, October 24, 2019

On October 30, federal officials will release results from the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, in reading and mathematics for grades 4 and 8. In anticipation of the test scores, Education Next asked a series of education-policy thinkers to share what the news later this month may be.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Are Teachers Really Underpaid?

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, October 21, 2019

Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss a new article and whether teachers are paid appropriately compared to similar professions.

IntellectionsFeatured

Closing The Achievement Gap In Education

by Eric Hanushek, Paul E. Petersonvia PolicyEd
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

New research shows that the difference in educational attainment between students from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds has not changed over the past 50 years.

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