Williamson M. Evers

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Williamson M. Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, specializes in research on education policy especially as it pertains to curriculum, teaching, testing, accountability, and school finance. Evers was head of the “agency action team” for the U.S. Department of Education in the Trump transition  from early September 2016 through January 2017. He was the US assistant secretary of education for planning, evaluation, and policy development from 2007 to 2009. From July to December 2003, Evers served in Iraq as a senior adviser for education to Administrator L. Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority and ran, with colleagues, the K-12 system in that country. He was a member of the Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force on K-12 Education from its beginning in 1999 until it wrapped up in 2014.

Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Evers to the California State Academic Content Standards Commission in 2010. In 1996 Governor Pete Wilson appointed Evers to the earlier California State Commission for the Establishment of Academic Content and Performance Standards. He is the only individual to have served on both standards commissions, both of which proposed the subject matter that students should learn in each grade.

Evers was elected in November 2004 to the Santa Clara County Board of Education, on which he served until February 2007. He is the immediate past president of the board of directors of the East Palo Alto Charter School on which he served from 1997 until 2004.

Among his recent publications are:

He has written opinion columns that have appeared in Education Week, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor.

Evers received his BA (1972), MA (1978), and PhD (1987) degrees in political science from Stanford University.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

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California Flies Blind On Testing: The Troubling Saga Of The State’s ‘Smarter Balanced Test’

by Williamson M. Evers, Ze’ev Wurmanvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From 1999 to 2013, California had a standard test (STAR – Student Testing And Reporting) to assess our students on California Standards in English Language Arts, Math, the Sciences, and Social Sciences. Within its first few years, the test format stabilized, and for the rest of its life, it remained essentially unchanged -- regularly releasing a fraction of its items to educate the students and parents about the expectations from our students and offering stable longitudinally comparable scaled scores.

Analysis and Commentary

'Education Runs On Lies'

by Williamson M. Eversvia The Washington Times
Monday, August 27, 2018

Arne Duncan’s memoir of his experience as U.S. secretary of Education under President Barack Obama draws you in because he acknowledges that K-12 education in America is built on a tissue of lies. His opening sentence is: “Education runs on lies.” But all too often he himself falls into misstatements, delusions and omissions of needed facts. Blinders made out of his beliefs block him from facing reality.

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California’s Common Core Mistake

by Williamson M. Evers, Ze’ev Wurmanvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The national standards reversed progress made in math, hitting disadvantaged minorities hardest.

Analysis and Commentary

Did Changed Test Questions Cause National Decline In Smarter Balanced Scores?

by Douglas J. McRae, Williamson M. Eversvia Jay P. Greene's Blog
Monday, March 26, 2018

Did Smarter Balanced mishandle the bank of test-questions for 2017? Test scores dropped in virtually all states using Smarter Balanced national tests in their statewide testing programs in 2017.

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California Flunks History

by Williamson M. Eversvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

The Golden State's standards for teaching history are jury-rigged, unfactual, and biased. Oh, and they're likely to get worse.

Analysis and Commentary

Is The Smarter Balanced National Test Broken?

by Douglas J. McRae, Williamson M. Eversvia Real Clear Education
Thursday, January 4, 2018

Across the country, 14 states used the federally-funded Smarter Balanced tests as part of their statewide K-12 testing programs in spring 2017. But the results for this year have an integrity problem.

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Bully for Budget Cuts

by Williamson M. Evers, Vicki E. Algervia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 23, 2017

Never mind the hysteria. The proposed federal cuts in education funding are smart and long overdue. 

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

California’s History Curriculum–Objectionable, Not Objective

by Williamson M. Eversvia Eureka
Thursday, August 17, 2017

By law, textbooks and other teaching materials in California’s public schools are supposed to be up-to-date. Yet history textbooks that are currently in the schools are twelve-years old.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Education Cuts Aren't 'Devastating,' They're Smart

by Williamson M. Evers, Vicki E. Algervia Los Angeles Times
Monday, June 12, 2017

It’s the end of the world as we know it – at least that’s what some people would have us believe about President Trump’s education budget.

Analysis and Commentary

New School History Framework Is Unhistorical

by Williamson M. Eversvia The Orange County Register
Friday, April 8, 2016

Was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) a “civic reformer”? No, the authoritarian political thinker and tutor for Britain’s absolute monarch Charles II was anything but. Hobbes is famous for telling us we must surrender almost all our rights to the ruler to prevent “a war of all against all.”

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