Mr. James W. Williams, Jr.
Graduated, May 1964
Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude, in Political Science, 1968
National Merit Scholar
Borden Freshman Prize (highest scholastic average in freshman class)
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Master of Arts in Political Science, 1970
National Defense Education Act Graduate Fellowship
Professional Positions, 1970 to-date
Texas House of Representatives, 1970 – 1971
Assistant to the Director of Studies, Speaker’s Committee of 100
Examined issues related to the organization and operating procedure of the Texas House of Representatives. Wrote major portions of the final report which offered a number of recommendations for improvement. Left to accept employment with the Texas Water Development Board.
Texas Water Development Board, 1971 – 1972
Administrative Assistant to the Director of Planning
Coordinated routine aspects of the work of 95 Planning Division employees. Left to join the Texas Research League.
Texas Research League, 1972 – 1979
Analyzed issues critical to the future of Texas government for this nonprofit, independent research agency, the mission of which was to improve state and local government in Texas. Education finance was a major issue in Texas at this time, and this agency later became a major player in the Edgewood lawsuit over the adequacy and equity of its public education system, providing extensive research findings that were used by the court and parties in the lawsuit.
Citizens Research Council of Michigan, 1979 – 1988
Director of State Affairs, 1979-1984
Director of Research, 1984-1988
Initially directed the research program on state government issues for this nonprofit, independent governmental research agency, the mission of which was to improve state and local government in Michigan; then became Research Director for the organization.
Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), 1988 – 2015
Research Director, 1988-1992
Executive Director, 1992-2015
Hired to initiate and then manage the research operations of this nonprofit, independent governmental research agency, and served in this capacity for 27 years, retiring on September 30, 2015. The mission of the organization is to provide objective, factual information that will assist in the improvement of state and local government in Alabama. Public finance and public education have been major concerns of PARCA throughout its history.
Developed PARCA’s methods for analyzing the revenues and expenditures of Alabama’s local school systems, as well as ways of analyzing the state’s foundation program. Presented discussions of adequacy, equity, and performance to Leadership Alabama classes annually for a number of years. Published comparative data on school revenues and expenditures on the PARCA website (http://parcalabama.org).
Developed PARCA’s methods for analyzing school performance data, including student assessments of reading and math in grades 3-8 and ACT college readiness data. These data for every school and school system are published on the PARCA website annually, allowing for meaningful comparisons of performance. In addition, comparisons have been presented to school systems interested in having the results. The systems served in this way (for one or more years) include Baldwin County, Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Huntsville, Jacksonville, Madison City, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa City and County. These presentations are published on the PARCA website.
Developed PARCA’s methods for analyzing core academic expenditures by school system, as well as its budget model for comparing spending per student at the school, central office, and system level, by revenue source.
Appointed to or served as staff to a number of state and local agencies and commissions. Those related to public education and public finance include:
- The Alabama Commission on Tax and Fiscal Policy Reform, chaired by former Chief Justice Bo Torbert,1990-1991 (staff)
- The Tax Reform Task Force, chaired by Thomas N. Carruthers, 1991-1992 (staff)
- The Education Reform Task Force, chaired by R. Neal Travis, 1995 (staff)
- Study Committee appointed by the Mayor of Mobile and Chairman of the Mobile County Commission to recommend improved funding for the Mobile County Schools, 2001
- The Governor’s Task Force on Teacher Quality, 2001- 2003 (consultant)
- Governor’s Education Spending Commission, 2003 (staff)
- Governor’s Commission on Improving State Government, 2010-2011 (staff)
- Served as a consultant to state officials, local governments, and community organizations on various issues, including the following related to public education and public finance:
- To the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, on issues of governmental organization, education, and tax issues related to metropolitan growth in Tuscaloosa County, 1995
- To the State Superintendent of Education, on improving the organizational structure of the State Department of Education, 1996
- To the A+ Education Foundation and the State Department of Education, on the costs of reaching adequacy in the public schools of Alabama, 2001
- To the State Department of Education, on teacher quality issues, 2001- 2003
- To the State Superintendent of Education, on revenue options for achieving adequacy in the public schools of Alabama and on improvements to the State Foundation Program that funds the public schools, 2002
- To the Business Council of Alabama Task Force on Governmental Change and Management Reform, 2003
- To the State Department of Finance, with support from the private Forward Alabama group, in the creation and development of SMART Budgeting, Planning, and Governing, 2003 – 2009
- To the Huntsville School Board, on administrative operations of the school system, 2005
- To the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce, on benchmarking school performance within Madison County, 2006
- To the Business Education Partnership of Alabama, on the progress of implementing Plan 2020 and priorities for improving results under the Plan, 2014 and 2015