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: Supreme Court To Weigh Whether Maine Can Exclude Religious Schools

by Paul E. Petersonvia Education Next
Monday, September 20, 2021

A senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, Michael Bindas, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the Carson v. Makin, which challenges Maine’s exclusion of religions options from the state’s tuition assistance program for residents outside of public school districts who send their children to private schools.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Mask-Wearing Mandates Are Based On “Pathetic” Lack Of Data, A Johns Hopkins Doctor Warns

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, September 13, 2021

A professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Marty Makary, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the arguments against mandating mask use by children in schools.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Results Of The 2021 Education Next Survey Of Public Opinion

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Tuesday, September 7, 2021

An Assistant Professor at George Mason University, David Houston, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss the 2021 Education Next Survey, on which both Houston and Peterson are co-authors.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Understanding The Failure Of Common Core

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 30, 2021

An education researcher and former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Tom Loveless, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss a new book by Loveless, “Between the State and the Schoolhouse: Understanding the Failure of the Common Core.”

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: “It’s Not How Much You Spend, It’s How You Spend It.”

interview with Paul E. Peterson, Eric Hanushekvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 23, 2021

The Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, Eric Hanushek, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss two new reports by Hanushek, which focus on incentives for schools to improve learning after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Walsh – In Six States, Institutions Where Nearly Every Teacher Candidate Who Takes The License Exam Flunks On First Try, A New Report Finds

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 16, 2021

The president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, Kate Walsh, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss a new study by the NCTQ, which looks at how licensure tests can help improve teacher quality, and whether teachers should be required to take such tests at all.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Pandemic Learning Loss Leaves Children Five Months Behind In Math, Four Months Behind In Reading—And That May Understate The Damage

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 9, 2021

A Senior Knowledge Expert at McKinsey & Company, Emma Dorn, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Dorn’s new report, which investigates the effects of learning loss from Covid-19 school shutdowns.

Featured

The Education Exchange: “My Father Went Missing During World War II—Or That Was What They Told Me.”

interview with Paul E. Peterson, William Damonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, August 2, 2021

A Professor of Education at Stanford University, William Damon, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Damon’s new book, A Round of Golf with My Father: The New Psychology of Exploring Your Past to Make Peace with Your Present.

Analysis and Commentary

Abolish School Districts, A New Book Proposes

interview with Paul E. Peterson, Clint Bolickvia The Education Exchange
Monday, July 26, 2021

The 44th Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, Clint Bolick, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss Justice Bolick’s book new book, "Unshackled: Freeing America’s K–12 Education System," co-written with Kate J. Hardiman.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: How The Education Secretary In Arkansas Kept Schools Open All Year For In-Person Learning

interview with Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, July 19, 2021

The Commissioner the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, Johnny Key, joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss how Arkansas has adjusted amid the ongoing challenges of Covid-19, and how the school choice landscape has shifted over the past year.

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