John Witte is Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Affairs and was Director of the La Follette School for three years. Following three years as a naval officer, he received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1978. His research has focused on tax policy, politics and education, including school choice, vouchers and charter schools. One project, supported by the U.S. Department of Education and the Spencer Foundation, examined charter schools. He was principal investigator for a research team studying the longitudinal effects of the Milwaukee school voucher program. He has been a fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. In 2012 he served as founding dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, a university he help start going back to 2010.
Professor Witte is author or co-author of eight books and more than 75 articles or book chapters. Witte has made seminal research contributions in budget and tax policy and in education policy. His books, The Politics and Development of the Federal Income Tax (University of Wisconsin Press, 1985) and The Market Approach to Education: Analysis of America's First Voucher Program (Princeton University Press, 2000), are considered landmark works by scholars and policy practitioners alike.