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: Surge In Non-Teaching Staff Strains School Budgets

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

As teachers strike or threaten to strike in several cities, one of the key issues is pay. But while teachers want higher salaries, school districts face a number of financial challenges. One source of strain in school district budgets is what economist Ben Scafidi calls the staffing surge, a major increase in non-teaching staff hired over the past few decades.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: How Teach For America Shapes State Education Policy

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, January 14, 2019

Many Teach for America corps members remain in the classroom long-term, but a large number move on to careers involving advocacy. A new study looks at how Teacher for America impacts state-level education policy. Leslie Finger of Harvard University joins Paul E. Peterson to discuss her study, “National Youth Service and Policy Feedback: How TFA Shapes Education Policy Working Papers through the Development of Young Advocates,” which was co-written with Carlos Lastra-Anadon.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Who Benefits From Redshirting?

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, January 7, 2019

Many parents choose to wait an extra year before enrolling a child in elementary school, a practice known as redshirting. Does this practice benefit the children who are held back? This week, Paul E. Peterson talks with Phillip Cook of Duke University, the co-author of a new study on the impact of delayed entry on student achievement.

Analysis and Commentary

Exchange Replay: High School Grade Inflation On The Rise

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A study based on data from North Carolina finds that grade inflation increased over the last decade and that grade inflation was more severe in schools attended by affluent students than in those attended by lower-income pupils.

Analysis and Commentary

Exchange Replay: A Survey Of Teachers By Teachers

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, December 24, 2018

How do teachers feel about the changes taking place in American education? In this replay episode, Evan Stone, the co-founder and CEO of Educators for Excellence, joined Paul E. Peterson to discuss his organization's survey, “Voices from the Classroom: A Survey of America’s Educators.”

Analysis and Commentary

Parents Satisfied With Florida Tax-Credit Scholarship Program

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, December 17, 2018

The Florida Legislature created the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program in 2001. Last year, scholarships from the program were awarded to a total of 108,098 students to attend private schools in the state.

Analysis and Commentary

Test Scores And Long-Term Outcomes: Why The Disconnect?

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, December 10, 2018

Researchers and policymakers are often puzzled when a policy like high quality preschool or class size reduction is found to have no impact on student test scores but a positive impact on longer-term outcomes like college graduation or future earnings.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: Inside Government With Erica Suares

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, December 3, 2018

Erica Suares, Senior Policy Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, sits down with Paul E. Peterson to discuss some of the inner workings of legislation in the Senate, including how the tax reform bill came together and what's on the horizon for higher education and school choice.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: What Will The 2018 Midterm Election Results Mean For School Choice?

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, November 26, 2018

Clint Bolick, an Associate Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, talks with Paul E. Peterson about how the results of gubernatorial elections will affect the school choice climate in various states. They also discuss the proposed expansion of an education savings account program which was on the ballot in Arizona.

Analysis and Commentary

The Education Exchange: The Effect Of Information On College Aspirations

by Paul E. Petersonvia The Education Exchange
Monday, November 19, 2018

Are parents move likely to want to send their kids to college if they are given accurate information about the costs and benefits of attending college? A new study looks at what happens when parents are given customized information about the cost of going to college and the wage premium for earning a college degree.

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