Dr. Iris Rotberg

Dr. Iris Rotberg headshot

Dr. Iris Rotberg

Research Professor, Education Policy

School: Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Department: Educational Leadership, Cross-Disciplinary


Office Phone: (202) 994-2735

Iris C. Rotberg is a Research Professor of Education Policy at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University.

Prior to that she was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, Senior Social Scientist at RAND, Principal Investigator for the Technology Policy Task Force of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Assistant Director of the National Institute of Education, where she directed the Office of Planning and Program Development, and Deputy Director of a comprehensive study of compensatory education conducted for Congress by the National Institute of Education. She also held research positions with the Office of Economic Opportunity, the President's Commission on Income Maintenance Programs, the Human Resources Research Office, and The Johns Hopkins University, where she conducted research on psycholinguistics and learning.

Dr. Rotberg's research focuses on school reform, science education, testing and accountability, school choice, international education, federal policy in financing education, and the development of methods for evaluating educational programs in a public policy setting.

She has published numerous research reports, articles, and commentaries, including RAND reports on federal policy options for improving the education of low-income students, reports on technology and human resources prepared for the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and reports on compensatory education used by Congress in formulating major education legislation.

Her articles on school reform, international education, and the education of low-income students appear in such publications as Science, Phi Delta Kappan, The Bridge, Harvard Educational Review, Teachers College Record, Tech-nos, Prospects, The Education Digest, The Washington Post, and Education Week, and she is the editor of Balancing Change and Tradition in Global Education Reform, a book that brings together examples of current education reforms in sixteen countries, written by “insiders” (Rowman & Littlefield Education: 2004, 2010).

Dr. Rotberg has testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, and presented papers at national and international conferences, professional societies, education organizations, research institutions, and forums sponsored by federal, state, and local governments.

She was a National Science Foundation Fellow at Johns Hopkins, a member of Sigma Xi (the National Honorary Science Society), a recipient of the University of Pennsylvania's Sociology Award, and a recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award, Educational Press Association of America.

She has served on the Committee on Employment and Human Resources, American Psychological Association; the Educational Accountability Oversight Committee, Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools; the Technical Advisory Committee for Education Week’s “Quality Counts 2012;” and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lab School of Washington and the Free the Children Trust.

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

M.A., University of Pennsylvania

B.A., University of Pennsylvania

  • Education Policy
  • International Education/Comparisons
  • School Choice
  • Testing
  • Accountability

Rotberg, I. C. (2014). The endless search for silver bullets. Teachers College Record, October 16, 2014.

Rotberg, I. C. (2014). Tenuous findings, tenuous policies. Teachers College Record, May 19, 2014.

Rotberg, I. C. (2014). International scores irrelevant to economic competitiveness. Education Week blogs, March 27, 2014; adapted for Quality Assurance in Education, Volume 22, Issue 4, 2014.

Rotberg, I. C. (2014). Charter schools and the risk of increased segregation. Phi Delta Kappan, 95 (5), 26-30.

Rotberg, I. C. (2012). Is anyone listening? Policy versus research on test-based accountability and charter school. Teachers College Record, June 19, 2012.

Rotberg, I. C. (2011). International test scores, irrelevant policies. Education Week, Published Online: September 12, 2011; Published in Print, September 14, 2011.

Rotberg, I. C. (Ed.) (2010). Balancing change and tradition in global education reform. R&L Education.

Rotberg, I. C. (2008). Quick fixes, test scores, and the global economy. Education Week, 27 (41), 27.

Rotberg, I. C. (2007). Why do our myths matter? School Administrator, 64 (4), 6.

Rotberg, I. C. (2007). Schools making tough choices: An international perspective. Principal, 86 (4), 32-37.

Rotberg, I. C. (2005). A special section on international education--Tradeoffs, societal values, and school reform. Phi Delta Kappan, 86 (8), 611.

Rotberg, I. C. (2005, February 9). The bigger picture: U.S. education in a global context. Education Week.

Futrell, M. H., & Rotberg, I. C. (2002). Predictable casualties: Do we risk leaving more children behind. Education Week, 22 (5), 34-48.

Rotberg, I. C. (2001, October 4). Quick fixes for complex problems. By George!

Hansel, L., Skinner, B., & Rotberg, I. C. (2001). The changing teaching environment. Center for Curriculum, Standards, and Technology, Institute for Education Policy Studies, George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Rotberg, I. C., Bernstein, K. J., & Ritter, S. B. (2001). No Child Left Behind: Views about the potential impact of the Bush Administration's education proposals. Center for Curriculum, Standards, and Technology, Institute for Education Policy Studies, George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Rotberg, I. C. (2001). A self-fulfilling prophecy. Phi Delta Kappan, 83 (2), 170-171.

Rotberg, I. C. (2000). What are we doing to our schools. Education Week, 20 (9), 44-46.

Rotberg, I. (2000). Campaign 2000: Notes to the next president on education policy. Education Week, 19, 28.

Rotberg, I. C., Futrell, M. H., & Holmes, A. E. (2000). Increasing access to National Board Certification. Phi Delta Kappan, 81 (5), 379-82.

Rotberg, I. C. (1998, November). “Do Flawed International Test-Score Comparisons Matter?” Standards Count: How Can NAEP Make a Difference in the Next Ten Years? The National Assessment Governing Board and The Institute for Educational Leadership.

Rotberg, I. C. (1998). Interpretation of international test score comparisons. Science, 280 (5366). 1030-1031.

Rotberg, I. C. (1996). Five myths about test score comparisons. School Administrator, 53 (5).

Rotberg, I. C. (1993). Federal Policy Options for Improving the Education of Low-Income Students. Volume II, Commentaries. RAND, 1700 Main Street, PO Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138.

Rotberg, I. C. (1993, June 11). Sure-fire school reform. The Washington Post.

Rotberg, I. C. (1991, November 21). What test scores don't measure. The Washington Post.

Rotberg, I. (1991). Myths in international comparisons of science and mathematics achievement. The Bridge, 21, 3-10.

Congressional Study of Technology Policy and its Effect on the National Economy. Report by the Technology Policy Task Force of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, October 19, 1988 (Principal Investigator).

“Untested Assumptions.” Discussant comments at the Brookings Institution conference on “The American High School Today.” Bookings Papers on Education Policy, 2003.

“Incentives of Test-Based Accountability Systems.” Discussant comments at the Brookings Institution conference on “Accountability and Its Consequences for Students: Are Children Hurt or Helped by Standards-Based Reform?” Brookings Papers on Education Policy, 2002.

New Directions for Chapter 1. Congressional Testimony, RAND, March, 1994.

Federal Policy Options for Improving the Education of Low-Income Students. Congressional Testimony, RAND, February, 1993.

  • March 2024Dr. Iris Rotberg published the piece, "Academic jargon and the illusion of objectivity," on Kappanonline.
  • February 2023Dr. Iris Rotberg published an article on KappaOnline titled, "The equity dilemma." She writes that school leaders in the U.S., "know that maintaining broad support for public education depends on the continued participation of middle- and high-income families. If these families leave the public education system, public schools will be perceived as second-rate options, and any hope of educational equity will be over."