General Audience Articles

The 2017 EdNext Poll on School Reform. Martin R. West, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson, Samuel Barrows . Education Next. 2017. August 22, 2017.

There’s no denying political climate change. The past 18 months have seen an enormous swing in the Washington power balance, a shift that has heightened the polarization that has characterized our public life for more than a decade now. How has this divisive political climate influenced public opinion on education policy and reform? And how much, if at all, has the new president swayed the public’s views?

Ten-year Trends in Public Opinion From the EdNext Poll. Paul E. Peterson, Michael B. Henderson, Martin R. West, Samuel Barrows. Education Next, 17(1). 2017. December 31, 2016.

In its 10th annual survey of American public opinion, conducted in May and June of 2016, Education Next finds that the demise of school reform has been greatly exaggerated. Public support remains as high as ever for federally mandated testing, charter schools, tax credits to support private school choice, merit pay for teachers, and teacher tenure reform. However, backing for the Common Core State Standards and school vouchers fell to new lows in 2016.

What Do Parents Think of Their Children’s Schools?. Paul E. Peterson, Samuel Barrows, Martin R. West. Education Next, 17(2). 2017.

Over the past 25 years, charter schools have offered an increasing number of families an alternative to their local district schools. The charter option has proven particularly popular in large cities, but charter-school growth is often constrained by state laws that limit the number of students the sector can serve. In the 2016 election, for example, voters in Massachusetts rejected a ballot question that would have allowed further expansion of charters in communities that had reached the state’s enrollment ceiling.

Not Leaving, Just Changing Jobs. Paul E. Peterson. Education Next, 16(3). 2016.

This is the last issue of Education Next for which I will serve as editor-in-chief. In an era when many magazines have disappeared from newsstands, it is an honor that so many of you continue to find the journal’s material worthy of your consideration.

The End of the Bush-Obama Regulatory Approach to School Reform. Paul E. Peterson. Education Next, 16(3). 2016.

At the turn of the 21st century, the United States was trying to come to grips with a serious education crisis. The country was lagging behind its international peers, and a half-century effort to erode racial disparities in school achievement had made little headway. Many people expected action from the federal government.

The Ideal Blended-Learning Combination. Paul E. Peterson, Michael B. Horn. Education Next, 16(2). 2016.

As the use of technology in schools grows rapidly—whether in blended-learning environments, for project-based learning, or just because it’s the fad du jour—how much time students should spend learning on a computer is a point of contention. More and more people seem to agree that digital learning in K–12 classrooms works best when it is used with the oversight of a teacher. The chants of “teachers not technology” and “laptops for layoffs” increasingly appear to be relics of the past.

After Common Core, States Set Rigorous Standards. Paul E. Peterson, Samuel Barrows, Thomas Gift . Education Next, 16(3). 2016.

In spite of Tea Party criticism, union skepticism, and anti-testing outcries, the campaign to implement Common Core State Standards (otherwise known as Common Core) has achieved phenomenal success in statehouses across the country.

James S. Coleman: Education’s North Star. Paul E. Peterson. Education Next, 16(2). 2016.

A star has at least five points. So I was told by a senior colleague at a time in my life when I was desperately trying to figure out how to burnish just one. Even by that standard, James S. Coleman is securely situated in a celestial constellation, as five points can be discerned even if one looks only at his research on schools.

The 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform. Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson, Martin R. West. Education Next, 16(1). 2016.

The American public is displaying its independent streak. Critics of testing will take no comfort from the findings of the 2015 Education Next poll—but neither will supporters of the Common Core State Standards, school choice, merit pay, or tenure reform. The unions will not like the public’s view on their demands that nonmembers contribute financially to their activities.

Alyesha Taveras (left) graduated from high school in 2012 and is currently enrolled at Seton Hall University.
The Impact of School Vouchers on College Enrollment. Matthew M. Chingos, Paul E. Peterson. Education Next, 13(3). 2013.

In 1996, Cardinal John J. O’Connor, archbishop of New York, proposed to Rudy Crew, chancellor of the New York City public school system, that the city’s most troubled public-school students be sent to Catholic schools, where he would see that they were given an education. New York City’s mayor at that time, Rudolph Giuliani, a voucher supporter, attempted to secure public funds that would allow Catholic schools to fulfill the cardinal’s offer. But voucher opponents condemned the idea on the grounds that it violated the no establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment.

Reform Agenda Gains Strength: The 2012 EdNext-PEPG survey finds Hispanics give schools higher grade than others do. William Howell, Martin West , Paul Peterson. Education Next, 13(1). Winter 2013.

In the following essays, we identify some of the key findings from the sixth annual Education Next-PEPG Survey, a nationally representative sample of U.S. citizens interviewed during April and May of 2012 (for survey methodology, see sidebar). Highlights include

Running in Place: Americans are learning more but are not catching up to the rest of the world. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(4). Fall 2012.

The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy, ” claims a task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations chaired by former New York City schools chancellor Joel I. Klein and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

Is the U.S. catching up? International and state trends in student achievement. Eric A. Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann, Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(4), 24-33. Fall 2012.

“The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy.” Such was the dire warning issued recently by an education task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. Chaired by former New York City schools chancellor Joel I. Klein and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, the task force said the country “will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long.” Along much the same lines, President Barack Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union address, declared, “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”

Neither Broad Nor Bold: A narrow-minded approach to school reform. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(3), 38-43. Summer 2012.

Children raised in families with higher incomes score higher on math and reading tests. That is no less true in the Age of Obama than it was in the Age of Pericles or, for that matter, in the Age of Mao. But is parental income the cause of a child’s success? Or is the connection between income and achievement largely a symptom of something else: genetic heritage, parental skill, or a supportive educational setting?

The International Experience: What U.S. school can and cannot learn from other countries. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(1), 52-59. 2012.

Undoubtedly, the United States has much to learn from education systems in other countries. Once the world’s education leader, the U.S. has seen the percentage of its high-school students who are proficient trail that of 31 other countries in math and 16 countries in reading, according to a recent study by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) (see “Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?” features, Fall 2011). Whereas only 32 percent of U.S.