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: Settlement Is Reached In Lawsuit Over Whether Delaware’s Schools Are So Bad They Are Unconstitutional

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, October 19, 2020

The co-leader of the Eversheds Sutherland Business and Commercial Litigation team, Rocco E. Testani, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss a recently settled adequacy lawsuit in Delaware. The plaintiffs originally alleged that students in Delaware, particularly disadvantaged students defined as low income, English learners and students with disabilities, were not receiving an adequate education in that state under its constitution. Testani was the lead attorney in the case, defending the state.

Interviews

Harvard PEPG’s Prof. Paul Peterson On Charter Schools, Digital Learning, & Ed Next Polling

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia Ricochet
Thursday, October 8, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Paul Peterson discusses his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed analyzing NAEP results from 2005-17 to show that charter schools are helping underprivileged students improve at faster rates than their peers in traditional district schools, especially among African-American students. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Preparing Better Teachers

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, October 5, 2020

The president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, Kate Walsh, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss several issues surrounding teachers, including how they are adjusting to online instruction amid Covid-19, how to best prepare young teachers for the profession, and how to teach the history of slavery in the classroom.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Stanford Doctor Bendavid Says Lockdowns Don’t Reduce Coronavirus Spread Any More Than Less Restrictive Measures

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, September 28, 2020

An associate professor of medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Eran Bendavid, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the risks and benefits of restrictive Covid-19 shutdown policies in different countries, and the related effects on the spread of the disease.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: A $14 Trillion Loss From Coronavirus-Related School Closures

by Paul E. Peterson interview with Eric Hanushekvia The Education Exchange
Monday, September 21, 2020

The Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, Eric Hanushek, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Hanushek’s new study, which calculates the expected losses to the annual GDP incurred by the Covid-19 shutdown of schools.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Student Achievement Growing More Rapidly In Charters Than District Schools, New Study Finds

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, September 14, 2020

A Post Doctoral Researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School, M. Danish Shakeel, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss their new study, which shows greater gains in student achievement by students in charter schools than their counterparts in traditional district schools.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: New Research Links Milwaukee School Vouchers And Reduction In Criminal Activity

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The director of school choice at Reason Foundation and an adjunct scholar at Cato Institute, Corey DeAngelis, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss DeAngelis’ new study which finds a correlation between receiving a school voucher in Milwaukee and a reduction in criminal activity.

Featured

The Charter School Advantage

by Paul E. Peterson, M. Danish Shakeelvia The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

[Subscription required] A new study shows African-Americans and children from poorer backgrounds outpace their peers in traditional district schools.

Featured

Education Exchange Replay: Condoleezza Rice On The “Deep Visceral Wounds Of Slavery”

by Paul E. Peterson interview with Condoleezza Ricevia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 31, 2020

The 66th Secretary of State and The Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at Stanford University, Condoleeza Rice, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss how school choice can help lower-income families get more of out the public education system, and how systemic change will be necessary to improve racial equality in America.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Populism In Education Policy—”A Suspicion Of Elites”

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 24, 2020

The Editor-in-chief of Education Next, Marty West, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the findings from the 2020 Education Next Survey, including populism as a factor in people’s views of education policy. “People who are suspicious of elites feel like the elites are in control of our educational system” is one way of interpreting the findings, Peterson says.

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