When writing about Richard Rothstein, I scarcely know where to begin.

He has written several major books. Anyone who wants to understand the challenge of poverty in our society must read Rothstein’s seminal work, Class and Schools.

He was responsible for drafting the EPI paper that brought together nearly a dozen scholars to explain why value-added assessment–or judging teachers by student test scores–was riddled with problems.

I got to know Richard many years ago when he wrote a regular column for the New York Times. We used to meet and disagree, but he never lost his cool, and he never stopped trying to explain patiently why I was wrong. Over time, I discovered, he was right on almost everything about which we had disagreed.

He understands the importance of public education. He objects when people defame public education, especially when they have no facts. If you want to get a flavor of his careful, thoughtful, judicious approach to issues, read this response to Bill Gates’ claim that educational achievement has been flat for many years. Richard Rothstein refuted what he said with clear and persuasive evidence.

For his courage, for his intelligence, for his dedication to democratic ideals, Richard Rothstein joins our honor roll as a hero of American public education.