Established in 1996, under the direction of
Paul E. Peterson (Henry Lee Shattuck
Professor of Government) PEPG has rapidly distinguished itself
as a significant player within the educational reform movement.
Having supplemented the program leadership with the addition of
Deputy Director Martin R. West (Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education) and through the support of
its institutional sponsors—the Taubman Center for State
and Local Government at the Kennedy School of Government and
the Department of Government in Harvard University's Faculty of
Arts and Sciences—PEPG continues to fulfill its core
• Provide high-level scientific training for
young scholars who
can make independent contributions to scholarly research.
Fellowship was initiated to attract top recent doctoral
recipients to the research of education at Harvard, and the
program has been a resounding success thus far. These fellows
have been vital in producing some of PEPG's most important
research papers and in organizing program conferences. Both
past postdoctoral fellows currently hold tenure-track
positions at major colleges and universities, a strong
indication of the caliber of scholars that have filled this
program role. In addition to these fellows, PEPG has worked
with numerous Harvard University graduate students and
undergraduates, who have contributed substantially to program
events and research through their work as PEPG research
• Foster a national community of reform-minded
With the establishment of
Education Next, PEPG has helped to create a
distinguished outlet for policy-relevant reflection by
education practitioners, professors, and renowned journalists.
By hosting numerous national conferences
on issues ranging from school choice to school board politics,
the program has brought together some of the nation's most
respected education researchers and legal scholars on an annual
basis. And with the initiation of the
PEPG Education Policy Colloquia Series in 2004, the program has
provided a more intimate forum to nurture an interest in education
research within the Harvard community.
• Produce path-breaking studies that provide a
scientific basis for school reform policy.
With the publication of
The Education Gap: Vouchers in Urban
Schools (Brookings, 2002), Paul Peterson and William
Howell capped six years of PEPG's rigorous evaluation of
voucher programs in New York City; Dayton, Ohio; and Washington
D.C.— to name only a few. In 2003, Paul Peterson and Marty
West served as editors for the first scholarly volume to assess
the accountability movement, No
Child Left Behind?: The Politics and Practice of Accountability
(Brookings, 2003). In 2005, Peterson and West authored
"The Efficacy of Choice Threats within
School Accountability Systems," the first independent
study to examine the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on the
test-score performance of individual students.
In 2012, the widely cited report Achievement Growth by Peterson, Eric Hanushek (Stanford) and Ludger Woessman (University of Munich) found that student achievement gains in the U.S. fail to close the international achievement gap — the U.S. ranked 25th out of 49 countries in student test-score gains over a 14-year period. In a separate report, The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City, also by Peterson and Matthew Chingos (Brookings), found large effects for African Americans. The first systematic study of school vouchers and college enrollment also reported college enrollment increases of 24 percent for those who attended a private school with the help of a voucher.
To learn more about PEPG, please see our
annual reports and visit our
sponsors and affiliates page.