Op-ed

African-Americans for Charter Schools: New survey data show black support on the rise. So why is the NAACP opposed?. Paul Peterson, Martin West . The Wall Street Journal. August 03, 2010.

This past week the NAACP, the National Urban League and other civil-rights groups collectively condemned charter schools. Claiming to speak for minority Americans, the organizations expressed "reservations" about the Obama administration's "extensive reliance on charter schools." They specifically voiced concern about "the overrepresentation of charter schools in low-income and predominantly minority communities."

Finding the Student's 'Price Point'. Paul Peterson. Education Week. April 19, 2010.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned about “price points” by speaking at a conference for those who design hotels and restaurants. As many readers may know, the price point is the approximate amount someone is willing to pay for such things as kitchen cabinets, faucets, sinks, and bathroom tile. All of these commodities come in a zillion different shapes, sizes, materials, and—of course—prices. If a designer does not know the customer’s price point, too much time can be spent promoting a gold-plated door knob when a brass one will do.

Charter Schools and Student Performance. Paul Peterson. The Wall Street Journal. March 16, 2010.

On Saturday, President Obama delivered a radio address on education and he didn't shrink from saying that American high school students are trailing international averages. He sketched out details of a bill his administration is now pushing to revise the No Child Left Behind Act. He proposes to preserve testing requirements but create a better measuring stick, require teachers be evaluated by performance (not credentials), and use carrots instead of sticks to encourage progress.

What the Public Thinks of Public Schools. Paul Peterson. The Wall Street Journal. September 09, 2009.

Yesterday President Barack Obama delivered a pep talk to America's schoolchildren. The president owes a separate speech to America's parents. They deserve some straight talk on the state of our public schools.

According to the just released Education Next poll put out by the Hoover Institution, public assessment of schools has fallen to the lowest level recorded since Americans were first asked to grade schools in 1981. Just 18% of those surveyed gave schools a grade of an A or a B, down from 30% reported by a Gallup poll as recently as 2005.

Health Lessons from Schools. Paul Peterson. New York Post. September 03, 2009.

If Congress creates a public option in health-care insurance, will that inevita bly lead to a single-payer system, with the government everyone's insurer? And should that happen, would the single-payer system lower costs, enhance medical-service delivery and improve the health of all Americans, as its advocates promise.

Much can be learned about such questions by considering the history of secondary schools in America.

Penalizing Schools That Succeed. Paul Peterson. New York Post. February 19, 2009.

THE stimulus package will more than double the fed eral money being spent on K-12 education for the next two years. But will local districts spend the cash productively?

Flash back to 2002, when school reform was in the air in Philadelphia, one of the nation's largest and most troubled school districts. The district, under state pressure, revamped its governing structure and contracted out its 46 most challenging schools.

Dog Eats AFT Homework. William G. Howell, Martin R. West, Paul Peterson. The Wall Street Journal. August 18, 2004.
Money Has Not Been Left Behind. Martin R. West, Paul E. Peterson. Education Week. March 17, 2004.

"An unfunded mandate," cry the critics of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In the words of Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee: "By neglecting his promise to provide the funding necessary to help each student to reach high standards, George W. Bush has made a mockery of the phrase 'leave no child behind.'" Virginia's Republican-dominated legislature recently struck a similar chord, passing (on a vote of 98-1) a resolution complaining that the law will cost "literally millions of dollars that Virginia does not have."

A quiet revolution. William G. Howell, Paul E. Peterson. The National Law Journal, A21. July 08, 2002.
Rigorous Trials and Tests Should Precede Adoption of School Reforms. Paul Peterson. The Chronicle of Higher Education, B4-B5. January 22, 1999.

Few doubt that education in our inner cities is in desperate need of improvement. Decades after the civil-rights movement began, equal educational opportunity remains more a slogan than a reality. Minority-group students in U.S. elementary and secondary schools continue to learn much less than their white peers, as measured by a wide variety of tests of student achievement, such as the SAT and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Let the Charters Bloom. Paul Peterson. Hoover Digest: Research and Opinion on Public Policy, No.3 Summer, 81. 2010.

President Obama staked out a position on education this spring, delivering a radio address that bluntly acknowledged that American high school students are trailing international averages. He sketched out details of a bill his administration would be pushing to revise the No Child Left Behind Act. He proposed to preserve testing requirements but create a better measuring stick, require that teachers be evaluated by performance (not credentials), and use carrots instead of sticks to encourage progress.