Teaching & Learning Obituary

Writer, Former EdWeek Reporter Passes Away

By Debra Viadero — February 02, 2021 | Corrected: February 26, 2021 2 min read
Bob Rothman
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Corrected: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect name for the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Robert Rothman, an author of several books on academic standards and testing and an award-winning former Education Week reporter, died at his home in Washington, D.C. late last month from pancreatic cancer.

He was 61.

Rothman covered curriculum and assessments for Education Week from 1986 to 1993 but spent most of his career writing and consulting for national organizations working to improve education. He was known among friends and colleagues as a gentle person and a gifted writer who provided thoughtful analysis on complex education issues and demonstrated a persevering commitment to educational equity.

“Whether the topic was structural racism in the United States, teacher professionalism in China, or any topic in between, Bob always seemed to have a learned and well-reasoned view to share,” Jason S. Dougal, the executive vice president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, wrote in a memo to the staff. Rothman worked at NCEE as a senior editor at the time of his death.

“But more important than that, Bob was a kind soul whose support of his colleagues never waivered,” Dougal continued. “He could find the lesson in any setback but also cut to the heart of the matter on the most complicated issues. He often spoke quietly, but his opinion spoke volumes.”

Rothman wrote three books on standards and assessments: Measuring Up: Standards, Assessment and School Reform; Something in Common: The Common Core Standards and the Next Chapter in American Education, and Fewer, Clear, Higher: How the Common Core State Standards Can Change Classroom Practice. He also co-wrote Teaching in the Flat World of Learning with Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond and worked as a ghostwriter on other books for prominent education scholars.

Remembered as an ‘insightful reporter’

Rothman began to develop his assessment expertise in his years at Education Week. While there, he also won an award from the American Psychological Association for a special report he co-wrote on cognitive science, before leaving to do a fellowship on assessment at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Retired Education Week Executive Editor Gregory M. Chronister, who worked with Rothman from his first day on the job, described him as “a tenacious and insightful reporter, and a man of integrity and kindness.”

“He devoted his career in writing and policy to improving education for all students,” said Chronister. “His death is such a loss for the field he loved.”

Besides his stint at NCEE, Rothman also worked as a study director at the National Research Council for a national committee on standards and testing, a journal editor at the Annenberg Institute on School Reform, and a senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education.

His battle with cancer lasted many months, yet he continued to work from home until two days before his death, according to his wife, Karla Winters. Besides his wife, Rothman is survived by his daughter, Cleo Rothman; a son, Aaron Rothman, who lives in Florida; his brother Howard Rothman, also a writer, and his mother, Ida Rothman.

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching This Teaching Routine Takes Just 5 Minutes. Its Impact Lasts Much Longer
It's no gimmick. Greeting students individually at the classroom door has been linked to benefits for both teachers and students.
5 min read
Second grade teacher Kaylee Hutcheson greets her students as they enter their classroom to start their day at Hawthorne Elementary School in Mexico, Mo., on Feb. 14, 2024.
Second grade teacher Kaylee Hutcheson greets her students as they enter their classroom to start their day at Hawthorne Elementary School in Mexico, Mo., on Feb. 14, 2024.
Lisa Krantz for Education Week
College & Workforce Readiness States Are Making Work-Based Learning a Top Policy Priority
Interest in career and technical education continues to grow in schools nationwide, new report shows.
3 min read
Kermir Highsmith, left, Dynasty McClurk, center, and Nevaeh Williams, work in their culinary arts class at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Dec. 13, 2022.
Kermir Highsmith, left, Dynasty McClurk, center, and Nevaeh Williams, work in their culinary arts class at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Dec. 13, 2022.
Nate Smallwood for Education Week
Teaching Profession Bilingual Teachers Are in Short Supply. How 3 Districts Solved That Problem
Helping bilingual paraprofessionals obtain bachelor's degrees and teaching credentials leads to more bilingual teachers, districts found.
9 min read
Elizabeth Alonzo works as a bilingual aide with 2nd grade student Esteycy Lopez Perez at West Elementary in Russellville, Ala., on Dec. 9, 2022.
Elizabeth Alonzo works as a bilingual aide with 2nd grade student Esteycy Lopez Perez at West Elementary in Russellville, Ala., on Dec. 9, 2022. Alonzo obtained her bachelor's degree through a partnership with Reach University and the Russellville city schools district.
Tamika Moore for Education Week
Teaching Opinion How Teachers Can Keep It Real for Students
Building curiosity is one way to make content matter to students.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty