Dakarai I. Aarons is CW's director of education outreach and policy. At CW, his work has included directing award-winning media outreach for the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher and the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Schools, managing dissemination, outreach and policy development for the Children’s Literacy Initiative and providing strategic advice for Learning Forward’s project to develop a statewide professional development strategy grounded in Common Core State Standards. Aarons also worked with the Sandler Foundation to translate a series of reports by RAND Education into policy briefs to help inform the creation of new federal and state policy related to the anticipated reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Aarons has been regularly called upon to provide media training and give presentations on the effective use of social media and communications strategies for a number of organizations and groups, including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Urban Superintendents Program, the Institute for Educational Leadership, and Education Champions for All.
Prior to joining CW, Aarons worked as a staff writer for Education Week, where he reported on local school districts, and served as the lead writer for Diplomas Count in 2010 and 2011. He covered local and state education at The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, Tenn. before joining Education Week, and his work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Des Moines Register and The Dallas Morning News, among other publications.
An award-winning former journalist, Aarons serves as a board member of the National Education Writers Association and is a former committee chairman of the National Association of Black Journalists. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in journalism and has received awards for his work from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Tennessee Press Association.