Harvard’s Paul Peterson Stepping Down From the Helm of Education Next

By Mark Walsh — August 10, 2016 2 min read
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Paul E. Peterson, the Harvard scholar who founded the journal Education Next in 2001, is stepping down as editor-in-chief.

He will be succeeded by Martin R. West, an executive editor of the publication and an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, Paul has clearly made his mark as a political scientist and education scholar,” West says of Peterson in a letter to readers posted online Wednesday as part of the journal’s forthcoming fall issue. “Yet the launch of Education Next and its success over nearly two decades may be his most enduring legacy. As his successor, I will do my best to make that so.”

As I wrote in a profile of the journal in Education Week last year, Education Next is “a crisply produced quarterly that straddles the worlds of newsstand magazines and academic journals [that] has claimed a prominent spot in K-12 debates that tilts toward support for higher standards, accountability, and school choice.”

Peterson, a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, said in an interview for that article that Education Next has always sought to abide by its mission statement that in “the stormy seas of school reform,” it will go “where the evidence points” in promoting “bold change” in K-12 education.

West, who besides his faculty position at Harvard’s education school is deputy director of the Kennedy School’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, says in his letter that “I step into the role of editor-in-chief with some hesitation, having seen up close the energy Paul has devoted to the job. But I take confidence from the talent and dedication of the editorial team he has assembled, and from the fact that Paul himself will remain active as the journal’s senior editor.”

West says he is inheriting “a large and growing audience,” both in hard copy and “especially online.” As I discussed in my profile last year, Education Next’s online presence is important, as it is for all publications these days, but that it is also one of the few education publications that is prominently distributed on general newsstands.

West says Education Next will be providing readers with more content in new formats, “ranging from an increased number of web-only articles and interactive graphics, to our recently launched podcast, to live events.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.