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Richard Kahlenberg

Richard D. Kahlenberg is an education and housing policy researcher, writer, consultant, and speaker.  


He is also Director of Housing Policy and Director of the American Identity Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. In addition, he is a professorial lecturer at George Washington University's Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public AdministrationHe was recently featured in a front-page New York Times profile on his policy work as a "liberal maverick."


The author or editor of 18 books, Kahlenberg has been recognized primarily for his expertise in three policy areas:


  • Zoning barriers to housing opportunities His work on how housing policies inhibit educational opportunities made him one of Washingtonian magazine’s top 25 most influential people shaping education policy.


Kahlenberg’s articles have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the New Republic, and elsewhere. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, PBS, and NPR.


His books include: Excluded: How Snob Zoning, NIMBYism, and Class Bias Build the Walls We Don't See (PublicAffairs Books, 2023); A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education (with Halley Potter) (Teachers College Press, 2014), 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). He is currently working on a book on the future of affirmative action for PublicAffairs Books.

The Remedy was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Tough Liberal was named one of the best books written on labor unions by the Wall Street Journal; and Excluded won the Goddard Riverside Book Prize for Social Justice.


Kahlenberg has been a nonresident scholar at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation, 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).

His work has been supported by leading foundations including Broad, Jack Kent Cooke, Ford, Gates, Hewlett, Lumina, Nellie Mae, Spencer, Walton, and W.T. Grant.

He serves on the advisory boards of the Pell Institute and the Albert Shanker Institute. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

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