Hawkins notes, "Large schools tend to create passive and compliant students."
Hawkins was chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations from 1982-1993. From 1987 to 1991, Hawkins co-hosted the San Francisco public policy television program "That's Politics" and a weekly radio show, "California Political Review".
In 1987, Hawkins commissioned the writing of the book Winning the Brain Race.
Hawkins has served as the director of the American Public Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution. He also served in the United States Army and as a department head in the California state government.