Public Agenda
Jean Johnson Senior Fellow & Special Adviser

Jean Johnson is a Senior Fellow and Special Adviser for Public Agenda who has worked with our organization since the early 1980s. During that time, she has authored or co-authored Public Agenda studies on education, families, religion, race relations, the federal budget, retirement, welfare, and health care. Most recently, she was the lead author for two Public Agenda/Kettering Foundation reports: "Don't Count Us Out: How an Overreliance on Accountability Could Undermine the Public's Confidence in Schools, Business, Government, and More," and "No Easy Way Out: Citizens Talk about Tackling the Debt." She was the principal researcher and lead author also the lead author for three studies of young adults' views on college completed for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: "With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them: Myths and Realities About Why So Many Students Fail to Finish College;" "Can I Get A Little Advice Here? How An Overstretched High School Guidance System Is Undermining Students' College Aspirations;" and "One Degree of Separation: How Young Americans Who Don't Finish College See Their Changes for Success."

Jean has also authored a series of books drawing on her work at Public Agenda, most recently, You Can't Do It Alone: A Communications And Engagement Manual For School Leaders Committed To Reform (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012). Writing with Public Agenda senior fellow Scott Bittle, she is also the co-author of a series of guides designed to help typical citizens understand complex public policy issues. Published by HarperCollins, the series includes: Where Does the Money Go? Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis (2008); Who Turned Out the Lights? Your Guided Tour to the Energy Crisis (2010); and Where Did the Jobs Go--and what Can We Do to Get Them Back (2012).

Ms. Johnson has also written articles for USA Today, Education Leadership, Education Week and The Kettering Review. She and colleague Scott Bittle are regular contributors to The Huffington Post and National Geographic's The Great Energy Challenge blog.

She has prepared papers and made presentations for major organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Urban Institute, National Institute of Justice, and National School Public Relations Association. She has appeared in the media on Bill Moyers’ Journal, CNN, NPR's Fresh Air, The Dylan Ratigan Show, Today Show, and The O’Reilly Factor among others.

Ms. Johnson was instrumental in the design and development of Public Agenda Online, our Webby-nominated public policy web site. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she developed a series of experimental citizen education campaigns for local news outlets including Public Summit '88, designed to help citizens discuss U.S./Soviet relations; SchoolVote, which focused on public school reform; and Condition Critical, with a spotlight on health care reform. The health care project was the basis of a nationally telecast PBS special.

In addition to her work with Public Agenda, Ms. Johnson is a member of the board of the National Issues Forums Institute, an organization which convenes citizens nationwide for non-partisan discussions on important issues. She is also a director of Sugal Records, a small, New York-based classical music recording company.

Prior to joining Public Agenda in 1980, Ms. Johnson was Resource Director for Action for Children's Television in Boston, where she authored a number of articles on television and children. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and holds master's degrees from Brown University and Simmons College.

Areas of expertise: Americans' views on major issues including education, higher education, the federal budget, energy, jobs and the economy and others; public opinion research; presentation of complex policy issues for typical citizens; public speaking


Email: jjohnson@publicagenda.org | CONTACT FOR INTERVIEW


RECENT WRITINGS:


Blog Entries

03/2014 Do Americans Really Loathe The Federal Government?

01/2014 Tough Choices on Health Care Ready or Not, Here They Come

12/2013 Welcome to Beyond the Polls

12/2013 Is There Really a Generation Gap on Social Security?

10/2013 Beyond the Polls: Why Polling on the Debt Ceiling is "Mushy"

03/2013 Top Grades in High School May Not Mean an Equal Chance at Success

02/2011 Teaching Teachers: How Well Are Colleges Meeting The Challenge?

09/2010 Where Do We Need A Superhero? In The Principal's Office

03/2010 Sorry, its Malignant: Why Scientists Need a New Approach on Climate Change

Commentary

09/2013 For Tomorrow's World, Should Engineers Study a Little Art History?

08/2013 25 Years From Now and Still Relying on Fossil Fuels?

07/2013 How to Spot Good Teaching -- Maybe It's Time for a Broader Discussion

05/2013 Can Parents Save American Education?

05/2013 From Sea to Shining Sea, Who's Using the Most Fossil Fuels?

04/2013 Can "Race to the Top" Work for Energy Innovation?

04/2013 Is Growth the Best Measure of a Good Economy?

03/2013 The Big Gamble in Health Care: Would Competition Outdo Government in Contro...

11/2012 We Must Avoid Austerity on Steroids

04/2012 One Degree of Separation (Commentary)

02/2012 12 Myths about America's Jobs Crisis

02/2012 Election Year Follies

01/2011 Would Getting the Economy On Track Give Us A Free Pass Out of the Federal B...

01/2011 Turning the Clock Back Isn't Enough: The Nasty Surprise Awaiting the GOP on...