Op-ed

Private schools are rebounding — but can it last? . Paul E. Peterson. The Hill. 2022. September 07, 2022.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress has just reported steep drops in student achievement at the nation’s public schools. How will parents respond to the news? Is the downward trend in private education enrollments about to be reversed?

Before COVID-19, private school enrollments were headed downhill. Between 1964 and 2019, the percentage of students attending private schools fell from 14 percent to 9 percent of all school-age children, an all-time low.

You're not imagining it: Kids today really are smarter than we were. Test scores prove it.. Paul E. Peterson, M. Danish Shakeel. USA Today. 2022. September 04, 2022.

According to the just released National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card, 9-year-old students suffered over the past two years the worst declines in student achievement in math and reading in over half a century. What’s worse, the lowest performing ones suffered the most serious shortfalls.

Continue reading at USAToday.com.

Mom’s rules for a happy ‘new normal’ school year . Paul E. Peterson. The Hill. 2022. January 01, 2022.

We need new rules for the new omicron variant of COVID-19 to have a happy, normal school year in 2022. The new rules should be much the same as those my mom’s generation followed many years ago. Here are six key ones:

Lockdowns Give School Choice a Boost. Paul E. Peterson. The Wall Street Journal. 2021. April 28, 2021.

President Biden wants credit for opening up the nation’s schools within 100 days of taking office. Yet over a third of U.S. students still aren’t going to a classroom every day. Many urban districts open their doors only to young children or for just two days a week, and scare talk dissuades numerous parents from sending their kids.

The War on Poverty Remains a Stalemate. . March 17, 2019.

The War on Poverty drags on. President Trump’s budget proposes heavy cuts in domestic spending, but not to compensatory-education programs, which aim to lift the achievement levels of disadvantaged students. Since 1980 the federal government has spent almost $500 billion (in 2017 dollars) on compensatory education and another $250 billion on Head Start programs for low-income preschoolers. Forty-five states, acting under court orders, threats or settlements, have directed money specifically to their neediest districts. How much have these efforts helped?

Exclusive Analysis: New Harvard Study Shows Public Support for Charter Schools Has Jumped 10 Points In Last Year. . March 27, 2018.

For Democrats and Republicans alike, charter schools have long provided a happy compromise between vouchers for religious schools and no school choice at all. Charters give families an alternative schooling option but remain publicly funded, secular institutions authorized by government agencies. They have been warmly endorsed by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

Hispanic Students Need Degree Data. Paul E. Peterson. 2017. August 15, 2017.

As compared to other undergraduates, Hispanic students are 33 percent more likely to be enrolled in a two-year college rather than a four-year university. According to the National Center on Educational Statistics, Hispanic students constituted 23 percent of the 2014 undergraduate enrollments in colleges offering an associate's degree, but only 17 percent of the enrollment in institutions offering a bachelor's.

Americans May Be More Tolerant of Muslims Than Ever. Paul E. Peterson. 2017. August 14, 2017.

As lawsuits multiply and partisans continue to squabble over President Donald Trump’s executive order banning migration from six majority-Muslim nations, liberals in the mainstream media have been pushing the line that America’s historic tolerance of religious diversity no longer extends to adherents of the Islamic faith. A just-released Education Next survey tells a different story.

Trump Should Capitalize on Vouchers’ Newfound Popularity. Paul E. Peterson. 2017. May 26, 2017.

President Donald Trump’s poll numbers have slipped well below levels enjoyed by prior presidents during their first one hundred days. But on one issue—school choice—the president is pushing the numbers in the direction he desires. It’s time for him to push his school choice agenda.

American Exceptionalism Isn’t a Modern Idea. . May 04, 2017.

Alexis de Tocqueville concluded in the 1830s: “The situation of the Americans is entirely exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be put in the same situation.”

Trump’s Education Pick: A Win for Public-School Parents. . December 12, 2016.

When Donald Trump selected an advocate for school choice, Betsy DeVos, to be secretary of education, he was acknowledging what many parents have noticed for some time: District-run public schools aren’t educating students well.

Why Does the NAACP Oppose Charter Schools?. Paul E. Peterson. U.S. News & World Report. 2016. August 25, 2016.

The NAACP, at its national convention in Cincinnati, voted this July to support "a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools." In Massachusetts, a local NAACP leader is campaigning against the charter-expansion referendum bill on the state ballot in November. Comparing charters to segregated schools, he shouted: "As Brown vs. the Board of Education taught us, a dual school system is inherently unequal."

Clinton Abandons the Middle on Education. Paul E. Peterson, Martin R. West. The Wall Street Journal. 2016. August 14, 2016.

Throughout this campaign season, Democrats have feigned confusion about why disaffected Republicans have not embraced Hillary Clinton, given Donald Trump’s character defects. But the K-12 education plank in the Democratic Party platform does a lot to explain the hesitance. The party’s promises seem designed to satisfy teachers unions rather than to appeal to ordinary Democrats, much less opposition moderates.

Does the Partisan Divide Include the K-12 Curriculum?. Paul E. Peterson. Education Week. 2015. September 04, 2015.

Americans have generally wanted much the same things taught in their public schools. Elementary students should learn three “R’s”—reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. In high school, it’s time to prepare for college or a career by studying core subjects, such as English, history, algebra, biology, and a foreign language. That basic understanding has not prevented political spats over school spending and school attendance boundaries. But the core operations of schools have usually been left undisturbed.

Teachers and the Public Oppose Agency Fees Charged By Teachers Unions. Paul E. Peterson, Martin R. West. July 16, 2015.

‘Th’ Supreme Coort follows th’ election returns.” So said Mr. Dooley, the bartender created by cartoonist Finley Peter Dunne at the start of the 20th century. Those who follow the court today often say that nothing much has changed. Yet if the justices consider public opinion next term, it will be a straightforward decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case challenging the California “union shop” law that levies an agency fee on all teachers who refuse to join a union.