Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about a variety of education issues. He has been called “the intellectual father of the economic integration movement” in K-12 schooling, and “arguably the nation's chief proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher education admissions.”  He is also an authority on teachers’ unions, private school vouchers, charter schools, turnaround school efforts, and inequality in higher education.
He is the author of five books: Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right: Rebuilding a Middle-Class Democracy by Enhancing Worker Voice (with Moshe Marvit) (Century Foundation Press, 2012); Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2007); All Together Now: Creating Middle Class Schools through Public School Choice (Brookings Institution Press, 2001); The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action (Basic Books, 1996); and Broken Contract: A Memoir of Harvard Law School (Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992.)
In addition, Kahlenberg is the editor of eight Century Foundation books: The Future of School Integration: Socioeconomic Diversity as an Education Reform Strategy (2012); Affirmative Action for the Rich: Legacy Preferences in College Admissions (2010); Rewarding Strivers: Helping Low-Income Students Succeed in College (2010); Improving on No Child Left Behind: Getting Education Reform Back on Track (2008); America’s Untapped Resource: Low-Income Students in Higher Education (2004); Public School Choice vs. Private School Vouchers (2003); Divided We Fail: Coming Together Through Public School Choice. The Report of The Century Foundation Task Force on the Common School, Chaired by Lowell Weicker (Executive Director) (2002); and A Notion at Risk: Preserving Public Education as an Engine for Social Mobility (2000).
Kahlenberg's articles have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, C-SPAN, MSNBC, and NPR.
Previously, Kahlenberg was a Fellow at the Center for National Policy, a visiting associate professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, and a legislative assistant to Senator Charles S. Robb (D-VA). He is also a nonresident senior fellow at Education Sector and serves on the advisory board of the Pell Institute. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and cum laude from Harvard Law School. Between college and law school, he spent a year at the University of Nairobi School of Journalism as a Rotary Scholar.
- Affirmative action in the United States
- Albert Shanker
- Labour movement
- New York City teachers' strike of 1968
- Progressivism in the United States
- Susan Eaton, The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial (Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006), p. 347.
- Ronald Roach, "Class-Based Affirmative Action," Diverse Issues in Higher Education, June 19, 2003, http://diverseeducation.com/article/3029/.