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Paul E. Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Senior Editor of Education Next, a journal of opinion and research. Peterson is a former director of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and of the Governmental Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. He received his Ph. D. in political science from the University of Chicago. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the German Marshall Foundation, and the Center for Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is the author of the book, Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning (Harvard University Press, 2010). Peterson was a member of the independent review panel advising the Department of Education’s evaluation of the No Child Left Behind law and a member of the Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force of K-12 Education at Stanford University. The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center reported that Peterson’s studies on school choice and vouchers have been among the country’s most influential studies of education policy.

Published Articles & Media

A Lot to Learn from Catholic Basketball

Since 1985, every senior on the basketball team at Cincinnati’s Xavier College subsequently earned a college diploma. So says journalist John Branch in a front-page story in the New York Times. The credit is given to Sister Rose Ann Fleming, the team’s academic adviser. I am sure she is more than deserving of the praise she receives, but, unfortunately, the reporter misses an opportunity to look more deeply into Catholic academic traditions.

Obama’s Education Strategy Makes Good Political Sense, But to Boost High School Graduation Rates, Something Bolder is Needed

The Obama Administration’s governing skills shifted upward this weekend. Making education the centerpiece of the Administration’s second year is a vast improvement over the first-year focus on endless spending, health reform and cap-and-trade. The President needs to take one step further, however, if he wants to find a way to lift four-year high school graduation rates from 70 percent to 100 percent.

Charter High Schools

Promising results from charters that educate teens

We Need Fewer Teachers, Not More

In Sunday's NYT, Elizabeth Green explains beautifully the challenges of classroom teaching. She says we will need millions of additional teachers to cover baby boom retirements, and wonders how we can find enough good ones. The answer is that we can't.

A Virtual Race to the Top

Now that the first round of Race to the Top awards have been announced, we can appreciate the impact that this new federal initiative is having on stimulating new thinking at state and local levels. Promising money to states if they come up with sensible ideas seems to work more effectively than punishing schools and districts for low performance. But some of the truly bold new ideas in education today are escaping the attention of RttT policymakers.

Diane Ravitch on “the Nature of Markets”

Ignoring basic economic principles, Ravitch asks us to keep intact our hopelessly disabled school system, now stagnant for half a century or more. She thinks she can get American schools to adopt her favored curricular reforms—even though they have refused to do so despite her multi-decade advocacy.

What’s Next in Education: Common Ground or Battle Ground?

Are the right and the left coming together on education policy? President Obama’s budget address is encouraging, if ambiguous. Looking elsewhere, one also finds mixed signals. Consider the two reports that came out last week, one on charter school segregation by a UCLA group headed by Professor Gary Orfield, the other a Brookings report headed by Grover Whitehurst, the widely respected former head of the Institute of Education Sciences.

Obama is Getting the Message

A few days ago I urged the President to shift education upward on the national agenda. Now it appears that he had already anticipated the upset in Massachusetts and was beginning to make the grand pivot even before election day.

Washington Post Wrong in Calling RttT the Largest Federal Education Expenditure

The $4.35 billion or so dollars spent on the Race to the Top, coupled with the extra billion now proposed by the president, is small beer compared to the $75 billion dollars that the stimulus package handed over to local districts for programming as usual. Yet the Administration has succeeded in persuading the allegedly skeptical, tough-minded reporters in Washington that RttT is the biggest federal education program ever mounted.

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