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

Putting Together The 2019 Education Next Poll

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 19, 2019

Michael Henderson, Research Director, Public Policy Research Lab at the Manship School of Mass Communication, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss how the 2019 Education Next Poll came together, including methodology and how the sample builds in experiments to best gauge the public's opinion on schools. The 2019 EdNext Poll will be released on Aug. 20, 2019, and available at educationnext.org. 

Analysis and Commentary

How To Reduce Chronic Absenteeism

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 12, 2019

Todd Rogers, Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, sits down with Paul E. Peterson to discuss a new study that looks to curb chronic absenteeism through randomized experiments.

Analysis and Commentary

How Pell Grants Expanded To The Middle Class

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 5, 2019

Jason Delisle, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss how the federal Pell Grant program, initially designed to help low-income students access college, has become available to more and more middle-class families.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill aboard HMS Prince of Wales in 1941
Analysis and Commentary

Winston Churchill's Lasting Legacy

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, July 29, 2019

Andrew Roberts, a Visiting Professor at the War Studies Department at King’s College, London and the Lehrman Institute Lecturer at the New-York Historical Society, sits down with Paul E. Peterson to discuss his new book, "Churchill: Walking with Destiny," Winston Churchill's lasting impact on Western civilization, and how he is taught today in schools.

Analysis and Commentary

How Does Race Affect Special Ed Identification In Schools?

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, July 22, 2019

Scott Imberman, a Professor in the Department of Economics at Michigan State University, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss a new paper which uses data from Florida to explore how the identification of childhood disabilities varies by race and school racial composition.

Analysis and Commentary

How Rising Costs Have Affected Higher Education

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, July 15, 2019

Richard Vedder, a Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss his new book, "Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America," and how rising college tuition costs have changed the dialogue around higher education.

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Area 45: The School Spending Disconnect With Paul Peterson

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia Area 45
Monday, July 8, 2019

Why money isn’t the sole cure to what ails America’s schools.

Analysis and Commentary

The State Of Parent Choice In 2019

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, July 8, 2019

Howard Fuller, a Distinguished Professor of Education, and Founder/Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, joins Paul E. Peterson on the 100th episode of the Education Exchange to discuss the state of school choice and it's contentious standing in current politics.

Analysis and Commentary

A New Look at American History

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, July 1, 2019

Wilfred McClay joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss his new book, Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Society, which he describes as a narrative account of the American story that could be used as a high school history textbook.

Analysis and Commentary

Reforming Education In America's Prisons

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, June 24, 2019

There is new interest in giving adult prisoners greater access to education while they are behind bars. One bill in Congress would allow prisoners access to Pell Grants to pay for higher education, something which has not been possible since 1994.

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