HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government, FAS


Activists use populist language when proposing school reforms. Are they appealing to a public ideology as coherent as conservatism or liberalism? A national probability sample of U. S. adults is asked to self-identify as liberals or conservatives, respond to statements about government trustworthiness and responsiveness to the people, and give views on education policies and institutions. Conservative-liberal and populist-Burkean scales are constructed, with Burke’s advocacy of trusteeship serving as populism’s antipode. Populism is more strongly associated than conservativism with many, though not all, school policy positions. Populism appears as coherent an ideology as conservativism and liberalism.


Shakeel, M. Danish, and Paul E. Peterson. "Are School Reforms Liberal, Conservative, or Populist? Populism and Education Policy Opinions in the United States." Journal of School Choice (2023): 1-32.