Terry M. Moe

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Terry M. Moe is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a member of the Institution's Koret Task Force on K–12 education, and the William Bennett Munro Professor of political science at Stanford University.

Moe has written extensively on the politics and reform of American education. In his new book, The Politics of Institutional Reform: Katrina, Education, and the Second Face of Power (Cambridge University Press, 2019), he treats Hurricane Katrina as a natural experiment that offers a rare opportunity to learn about the role of power in the politics of institutional reform.

His seminal book with John E. Chubb, Politics, Markets, and America's Schools, is among the most influential and controversial works on education to be published during the last two decades—showing how politics shapes and undermines the public schools and arguing the value of school choice. In Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of America (Jossey-Bass, 2009), Moe and John E. Chubb map out a dynamic vision of the nation's educational future, showing how the ideas and innovations of information technology will ultimately transform the public schools to the benefit of the nation and its children. For more information, visit the Liberating Learning website.

Moe is also the author of Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools (Brookings Institution Press, 2011), the first comprehensive study of America’s teachers' unions, and Schools, Vouchers, and the American Public (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), the first detailed analysis of public opinion on the voucher issue. In addition, he is the editor of A Primer on America's Schools (Hoover Institution Press, 2001) and the author of many published articles.

In 2005, Moe received the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Prize for Excellence in Education.

As a political scientist, Moe’s research interests extend well beyond public education. He has written extensively on public bureaucracy and the presidency, and the theory of political institutions more generally. His most prominent articles include "The New Economics of Organization," "The Politicized Presidency," "The Politics of Bureaucratic Structure," "Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story," "Presidents, Institutions, and Theory," “The Presidential Power of Unilateral Action” (with William Howell), and “Power and Political Institutions.”

In addition to his positions at Stanford and Hoover, Moe has served as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC.

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Recent Commentary


Terry Moe On Educational Reform, Katrina, And Hidden Power

by Russell Roberts interview with Terry M. Moevia EconTalk
Monday, December 9, 2019

Political Scientist and author Terry Moe of Stanford University talks about his book, The Politics of Institutional Reform with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Moe explores the politics and effectiveness of educational reform in the New Orleans public school system in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Moe finds that policy-makers turned to charter schools for pragmatic reasons and students enjoyed dramatic improvements in educational outcomes as a result.


Terry Moe: Warren's Education Plans Are In Lockstep With The Teachers' Unions On Charters, Segregation, Special Education & What Is To Be Done?

interview with Terry M. Moevia The John Batchelor Show
Friday, November 8, 2019
Hoover Institution fellow Terry Moe discusses Elizabeth Warren's plans for education.

An Accidental Revolution

featuring Terry M. Moevia City Journal
Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Terry Moe explores how Hurricane Katrina prompted New Orleans to reinvent its dysfunctional school system—and why education reform is so hard to achieve.

The Politics of Institutional Reform: Katrina, Education, and the Second Face of Power

by Terry M. Moevia Books by Hoover Fellows
Monday, April 1, 2019

In this ground-breaking analysis, Terry Moe treats Hurricane Katrina as a natural experiment that offers a rare opportunity to learn about the role of power in the politics of institutional reform. When Katrina hit, it physically destroyed New Orleans’ school buildings, but it also destroyed the vested-interest power that had long protected the city’s abysmal education system from major reform. With the constraints of power lifted, decision makers who had been incremental problem-solvers turned into revolutionaries, creating the most innovative school system in the entire country.

Trump’s “Presidential Tone” Is Meaningless

by William G. Howell, Terry M. Moe
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Judge him by how he actually governs.

Analysis and Commentary

America’s Antiquated Constitution

by William G. Howell, Terry M. Moevia Prospect Magazine (UK)
Thursday, February 2, 2017

The founding document of the United States is wholly unsuited for a modern democracy—and a potential danger to its survival.

Terry Moe and Peter Robinson
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Is The Constitution Out Of Date?

interview with Terry M. Moevia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government--and Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency

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Conservatives And Constitutional Change

by Terry M. Moe, William G. Howellvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Constitution is a brilliant document, but it’s time for a more effective system of governance.

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Our Outdated Constitution

by Terry M. Moe, William G. Howellvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, June 2, 2016

How our founding document undermines effective government—and why we need a more powerful presidency.


Fix The Broken US Government With 'Fast Track'

by William G. Howell, Terry M. Moevia CNN
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The media's wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump and the presidential horse race is a distraction from the main event -- namely, that American government is dysfunctional.