Expert Profile

Joe Williams
Executive Director
Democrats for Education Reform

After more than a decade of frontline newspaper reporting on education reform, Joe Williams has established a nationally-recognized reputation as a writer, contributor and speaker on cutting-edge education reform issues at the federal, state, and local levels. His most celebrated work was as author of the controversial book Cheating Our Kids: How Politics and Greed Ruin Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

In June of 2007, Joe decided to make it his full-time job to implement the social change for which his investigative journalism had repeatedly called, and he was named Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). Williams identified with DFER’s focus on building a powerful national coalition in support of meaningful education reform.

Joe knew from his research and writing that a political problem demanded a political solution—a solution that draws on all communities and community leaders who are committed to putting America’s children first.

Joe previously worked as an award-winning education journalist for the New York Daily News. He also served as an education reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he won numerous local, state, and national awards for his coverage of the Milwaukee Public Schools and that city's groundbreaking school choice programs.

In addition to studying reform efforts in Milwaukee, Joe has completed exhaustive research on the challenges of individual school districts in cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and San Diego. He has developed expertise on national education policy such as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, and on state issues such as the growing Charter School movement.

Joe has written in-depth pieces for the Hechinger Institute, the Thomas Fordham Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. He has served as a non-resident Senior Fellow at Education Sector, a non-partisan, Washington DC-based think tank.

Joe has contributed book chapters, articles and policy reports on numerous education-reform related topics, and for a variety of respected publications including: Education Next, Education Sector, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Press.

Joe Williams 's discussions:

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Ken Feinberg The Feinberg Group
Martin E. Marty University of Chicago
Geoff Mulgan Young Foundation
Mark McClellan Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform
Jay Greene University of Arkansas
Simon Head University of Oxford

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  • Risk and Legal Fear in Schools
    With Lenore Skenazy, Frederick Hess, Megan Rosker, Walter Olson, and Nancy McDermott. Start date: June 5