Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG), together with other leading institutions, will establish the federally funded Center on School Choice, Competition and Achievement.
The center will receive a $10 million, five-year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, the main research component of the U.S. Department of Education. The grant was announced this September after a widely publicized, nationwide competition.
Under the grant’s terms, PEPG, directed by Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government Paul E. Peterson, will examine the impacts of school vouchers on public schools, the effects of charter schools and private schools on student achievement, and the effects of school accountability systems on political competition within school districts.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to extend our longstanding research program on school choice into new venues,” observed Peterson.
A multidisciplinary team from the partnered institutions includes political scientists, economists, sociologists, psychologists, curriculum experts, psychometricians, statisticians, public finance analysts, and legal scholars, who will attempt to answer a broad range of questions surrounding school choice. The participating institutions include the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University, the Brookings Institution, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Northwest Evaluation Association, and the Stanford University School of Education. Peabody will perform the center’s primary administrative responsibilities.
Research is expected to start during the current academic year, reports PEPG deputy director and Assistant Professor of Government William Howell. “I am pleased that the Department of Education has decided to support randomized field trials and rigorous scientific research in education,” said Howell.
Established in 1996, the Program on Education Policy and Governance, located within the Department of Government in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Taubman Center on State and Local Government in the Kennedy School of Government, has received national recognition for its research on school choice, school accountability, and many other school reform topics. It assumes primary editorial responsibility for Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research.