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PEPG CONFERENCE
Learning from Improving School
Systems
at Home and Abroad
July 25-27, 2012
Click here for agenda, papers, presentations,
and additional information

Learning From the International Experience:
Lifting U.S. Students to World Class Levels of Performance
August 17-19, 2011
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University


This PEPG conference examined whether U.S. students are ready to compete in a global economy.
Speakers included federal, state, and local policy-makers, as well as educaution professionals and academics from the U.S. and abroad. This event was co-sponsored by the Program on Education Policy and Governance and Education Next with support for the Kern Family Foundation.

Conference Materials:

Conference Agenda
Speaker Bios
Press Release for Tony Miller Keynote Address

"Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?"
(full report) (press release)
Archived Webinar featuring one of the report's authors presenting a summary of the findings

Conference Archived Video Footage:
Tony Miller Keynote Address (video)
Panel I: What Can Be Learned from the International Experience? (video)
Panel II: Can Autonomy and Choice Bolster Achievement in the U.S.? (video)
Panel III:Should the U.S. Have Common Standards and Examinations? (video)
Panel IV: Is Digital Learning the Answer? (video)
Panel V: How Do We Get Great Teachers? – Part I (video)
Panel VI: How Do We Get Great Teachers? – Part II (video)

Conference Presentations:
Panel I - Mona Mourshed
Panel I - Eric Hanushek
Panel I - Jay Greene
Panel II - Martin West
Panel III - Shengchang Tang
Panel IV - Susan Patrick
Panel V - Jari Lavonen
Panel V - Fernando Reimers
Panel VI - Gwang-Jo Kim

Photos from the conference:
Find photos from the conference "Learning from the International Experience" here.

Media Coverage:

Superintendents Sound Off On School Reform At Harvard Conference
Huffington Post
'Comprehensive' school reform? Not without preschool
JournalGazette.net


Merit Pay:
Will it Work? Is it Politically Viable?
June 3-4, 2010
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Sponsored by the Program on Education Policy and Governance and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, with support from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Thomas W. Smith Foundation, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and the Center for American Political Studies.

Conference Materials:

Announcement | Conference Agenda | Conference Papers

Media Coverage:

The mystique of merit pay
Harvard Gazette

Study: N.Y. teacher performance pay program flops
Washington Post (blog)

The Uncertain Impact of Merit Pay for Teachers
New York Times (blog)

FL teachers’ degrees, colleges not tied to “effectiveness,” (but National Board certification is), researchers say
Orlando Sentinel (blog)

Conference on Economic Incentives: Do They Work in Education?
Insights and Findings from Behavioral Research

May 16-17, 2008
CESifo Conference Center, Munich

To explore the use of economic incentives in education, CESifo Munich and the Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) of Harvard University are hosting jointly a conference in Munich Germany on 16-17 May 2008. Building on the success of a previous joint conference whose proceedings are just published by MIT Press, the scientific organizers, Paul E. Peterson (Harvard) and Ludger Woessmann (Munich), hope to again bring scholarly perspectives together from both sides of the Atlantic.

Adequacy Lawsuits:
Their Growing Impact on American Education

October 13-14, 2005
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

As of January 2005, lawsuits challenging the adequacy of state finance were in various stages of litigation in more than 20 states. The outcomes of these cases can be expected to have a major impact on American education in coming years. What will that impact be?

Existing research on adequacy suits is limited and therefore provides little guidance. Yet the consequences of equity lawsuits, from which adequacy lawsuits have evolved, are well known. Although equity lawsuits caused spending differences between districts to decline dramatically, far less progress was made toward reducing the equally large student achievement gap, and overall performance remained essentially stagnant. This calls for a critical assessment of the adequacy movement's potential for reducing disparities in American education.

PEPG asked scholars from several disciplines to prepare papers on topics ranging from the historical origins of education clauses in state constitutions to the implementation of recent adequacy judgments and their impact on spending levels and student outcomes. The conference also brought together participants in several recent adequacy cases with divergent views of the adequacy movement's potential. Our hope is that the gathering provided useful guidance to advocates and policymakers intent on improving American education.

Mobilizing the Private Sector for Public Education
A PEPG - World Bank Conference
October 5-6, 2005

Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

This conference focused on the public-private partnerships in education in the context of both developing and developed countries and the efficacy of such initiatives. The event attracted many of the foremost economists, political scientists, policymakers and practitioners with an interest in education policy.

Papers presented at the conference analyzed vouchers in Colombia and Chile, charter schools in the United States, concession schools in Colombia, and education contracting and teacher absenteeism in public and private schools in developing countries. Participants also discussed the role of the World Bank, IFC, and other development partners in fostering a public-private partnership in education and the theoretical arguments behind mobilizing the private sector. In addition, the event explored the creation of a research program on public-private partnerships in education, with an emphasis on contracting models.

This conference was supported by CfBT, the John M. Olin Foundation, the International Finance Corporation, and the World Bank Institute.

Schooling and Human Capital Formation in the Global Economy: Revisiting the Equity-Efficiency Quandary
September 3-4 , 2004
Munich, Germany

PEPG co-sponsored this conference with CESifo, a joint venture of the Center for Economic Studies at Munich University and the Ifo Institute for Economic Research. Prominent scholars from Europe and North America presented timely research on such topics as intergenerational mobility, peer effects, and school choice. Links to all of the conference materials can be found below.
50 Years after Brown: What Has Been Accomplished and What Remains to Be Done?
April 22-24 , 2004
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

This conference focused on the issues facing American elementary and secondary education at a critical juncture between the first 50 years since Brown and the next 25 years, when the remaining promises of Brown need to be fulfilled. We celebrated those advancements that, but for the Brown decision, might never have taken place. However, even 50 years after Brown was decided, the unfortunate fact remains that too many African Americans remain far behind on tests of achievement, creating a black-white test score gap that has remained just about as large and persistent as it was when first measured in the late sixties. The two-day conference consisted of policy and legal papers that examined the progress made thus far and the major alternatives that have been proposed as viable mechanisms for accelerating progress over the next decades

School Board Politics
October 15-17, 2003
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

For much of American history, school boards stood at the center of education politics. No longer, for in the past half-century powers have shifted dramatically. State and federal governments have played an increasingly prominent role in the public's education, effectively challenging school boards' once dominant position in education governance. This conference sought to examine the role of school boards in education today.

The conference featured essays from political scientists, legal analysts, economists, education researchers, and other scholars on the relation of school boards to state and federal governments, the relation of special interests to school boards, citizen participation in school boards, race and representation on school boards, and on reforming local governance. As much of the previous research on school boards was concerned with management and administrative issues, the papers presented at this conference should provide a strong foundation for all future research on the politics of school boards and local school governance.

The papers presented at this conference were published in the forthcoming: Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics, William Howell, ed. (Brookings, 2005).

Innovations in Education
April 15, 2003
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

PEPG helped the Kennedy School based Institute for Government Innovations along with the new Office of Innovation and Improvement host a one day conference on April 15, 2003. Experiences were shared among participants as the conference explored the tensions that sometimes exist between innovations and 'evidence-based' practice. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, returned to deliver the conference's keynote address the night before at a crowded ARCO Forum event.
What Next for School Vouchers?
October 17-18, 2002
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

PEPG hosted the conference: What Next for School Vouchers? with a keynote address by Kenneth Starr and a discussion by Clint Bolick and Steven K. Green. In addition to papers on the legal meaning of Zelman and how it relates to state constitutions and Blaine amendments, other scholars presented papers examining the latest research evidence on vouchers, the potential of tax deductions and tax credits, the state of public opinion, the best ways of mobilizing parental support for school choice, and other topics. The papers presented at this conference were published in the edited volume, The Future of School Choice, Paul E. Peterson, ed. (Hoover, 2003).

Taking Account of Accountability: Assessing Politics and Policy
June 10-11, 2002
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

This conference included a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and had the following objectives:
1) Provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of the best available empirical evidence concerning the impact of standards-based education reforms on student achievement, teacher practice, and educational productivity.
2) Devote particular attention to the relationship between standards and choice as strategies of reform: Are they best understood as complements or substitutes?
3) Promote conversation between those studying the politics of education reform and those interested primarily in the potential of standards as a means of promoting efficiency and equity in education: Is it the case that the only accountability policies that are politically possible are those that are ineffective in practice? Or is there still hope that accountability politics and policy are compatible? The papers presented at this conference were published in the edited volume, No Child Left Behind? The Politics and Practice of School Accountability, Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West, eds. (Brookings, 2003).

Conference AgendaConference Papers
Participant BiographiesPartipant Contact InformationRegistrant Information

Testing Testing: School Accountability in Massachusetts and Beyond
October 11, 2001
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and PEPG sponsored a one-day conference on the controversy over standardized testing in Massachusetts. The conference featured leading state and local education officials, as well as leading experts on testing and school accountability. It offered an opportunity for people across the political spectrum to assess how standardized testing fits into a broad array of school reforms and what it will take for Massachusetts to use its battery of tests to create change in schools across the Commonwealth.

Conference on the Future of Religious Colleges
October 6-7, 2000
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

PEPG hosted this conference at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, during which participants discussed the role and shape of religious colleges in American higher education. Papers from the conference were published in a book edited by Paul Dovre, entitled: The Future of Religious Colleges (Erdman, 2001).

Charters, Vouchers, and Public Education
March 9-10, 2000
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

PEPG hosted this conference at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, during which participants discussed the effects of school vouchers and charter schools on students, the education system generally, and each other. This conference was sponsored by PEPG and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Papers presented at the conference were published in Paul E. Peterson and David E. Campbell, eds., Charters, Vouchers and Public Education (Brookings, 2001).
Curriculum Wars: Alternative Approaches to Reading and Mathematics
October 21-22, 1999
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

On October 21 - 22, 1999 PEPG hosted this conference at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. This conference was a joint initiative of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, Kennedy School of Government and the Center for American Political Studies, Department of Government. Papers presented at the conference were published in Tom Loveless, ed., The Great Curriculum Debate (Brookings, 2001)
Teachers Unions and Educational Reform
September, 1998
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

In September 1998, PEPG hosted this conference at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Papers presented at the conference have been published in Tom Loveless, ed., Conflicting Missions? Teachers Unions and Educational Reform (Brookings, 2000).
Rethinking School Governance
June 1997
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

In June 1997, PEPG hosted this conference, which brought together researchers and practitioners to discuss a wide range of reforms in educational governance from a variety of perspectives. Papers presented at the conference have been published in Paul E. Peterson and Bryan C. Hassel, eds., Learning from School Choice (Brookings, 1998).
Meritocracy and Inequality
September 1996
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

In conjunction with the University of Chicago, PEPG convened a conference on meritocracy and inequality in September 1996. This was the culmination of a year of interdisciplinary seminars featuring some of the most prominent scholars examining these issues. Papers presented at the conference were published in Susan B. Mayer and Paul E. Peterson, eds., Earning and Learning: How Schools Matter (Brookings, 1999).