Michael Kirst

California Board of Education President Michael Kirst has worked in education policy for over 50 years. Kirst joins us in-studio to discuss his career in education, including taking the lead in crafting the state’s new education funding formula. We’ll also get his thoughts on the state’s new history and social sciences curriculum — which now includes LGBT history — and how to close the enormous academic performance gap between schools in low-income communities and those in wealthy ones.

Education Innovator Michael Kirst on New History Textbooks, California’s Academic Performance Gap 4 August,2016Jeremy Siegel

Michael Kirst, president, California State Board of Education; professor emeritus, Stanford University Graduate School of Education


    There is a war on education in this country ,it is real obvious with the ever rising cost of education specially in college and university ,this war is lunched by the ruling elites because it is easier to rule and exploit ignorant masses than educated ones…..Education including college is free in most countries of the World ,rich and poor.

  • geraldfnord

    Apologies for repeating myself, but I am convinced that a large number of people have learned to say that they believe in education, but actually do not or even actively dislike it. Employers and very many parents want jobs-training—which does not actually train for jobs as well as education—but really don’t want children, employees, constituents, and parishioners who can and will objectively observe, and can and will rationally and creatively think.

    That is to say, we may be getting the education systems ‘we’ ‘want’, much as we have welfare systems that reflect ‘our’ hatred of and contempt for the poor.

  • SB

    How are the lottery funds being used? I know the answer actually, they are not really going to fund education but that was the purpose. With the amount of money being made on the California lottery, seems to me the education issue should be a non-issue. Where is the lottery money and how much of the revenue is being used on education? And if the percentage is low as I suspect it is, why? The intention of the lottery initiative when brought to voters was to use the funds for education.

    • Robert Thomas

      The only way that state lottery (or any other special revenue) revenue can be said to benefit a specific account is if that account relies on no other revenue. Else, money is fungible. Any new special revenue finds itself merely displacing other funds which had been spent on that amenity, that are then spent elsewhere.

      The idea that the lottery would benefit schools in particular was a pig in a poke and obviously so, from the time it was flogged to Californians in 1984 and has never been any thing other than a Dumb Tax that enriches the general fund.

    • Bill_Woods

      The lottery provides more than $1 billion per year, about 1% of total spending on education.
      The lottery was sold as supplementing spending, but of course the legislators know that funding stream is there, so they can apportion that much less from general revenues than they would have. Meaning the lottery’s simply substituting for revenue raised from other taxes.

  • Robert Thomas

    Can Professor Kirst evaluate the overall success or failure of California’s attempt to comply with the revenue sharing strictures required in the state after the decisions of Serrano v. Priest from 1971 to 1977?

    Excepting the wealthy “Basic Aid” districts as exceptions under the law, can he evaluate the fairness of funding among the predominating “Revenue Limited” category districts and how evenly the monies available for California’s districts are distributed, compared to those of other states?

  • Yolanda Franco-Clausen

    I wanted to see if we could address the disparity gap during the summer break. What is the State level currently doing if anything to help close that gap. The education gap with the retention of information, access to enrichment programs and recreation is very wide during summer. If the State were to help create a funding stream toward these schools that have lower income students, it could improve the attendance, the engagement and the overall outcome students.

    Are there any conversations to address this issue?

  • JoAnna Chocooj

    I’m very disappointed in some of the discussion. In the first part of the discussion, there Mr. Kirst and the Mr. Iverson discussed the absolutely disaster we are facing filling teacher positions because of the national teacher shortage. They lamented this problem but didn’t have a lot of suggestions for fixing it. Then later in the program they discussed the issue of “teacher tenure”. First of all, the definition of tenure was completely inaccurate – and from a Professor of Education? How is this supposed to help the conversation? Tenure does NOT GUARNATEE a teacher’s position! All it does is say after fulfilling all state licensing requirements (which include education, specialization, and on-the-job training, and passing all required exams, AND 2 years of highly detailed satisfactory job evaluations!), a teacher cannot be fired unless there is cause. In other words, they have to have been evaluated and found to be unsatisfactory, &/or are arrested for a crime. It is NOT difficult to fire a bad teacher if management has completed their evaluation function. Where the system breaks down is on the MANAGEMENT side, for failing to fulfill their evaluatory functions – do not blame teachers for principals not doing their job!
    And one has to wonder, with the continuing low pay (as compared to other professions with comparable education and experience requirements), the media bashing and misrepresentation of which above was unfortunately an excellent example, the precariousness of maintain one’s position (for the 1st 2 years teachers can be let go for no reason given by districts – which may make it even more difficult to find future employment even if it was unjustified), why in the world would anyone want to enter teaching as a profession now? I’m a 27+ year veteran teacher in an urban district. I love my students. I also love my daughter, and am encouraging her to NOT consider teaching as a future profession.
    For a future show I would strongly encourage the Forum program to contact our professional state teachers organization, CTA. Our CTA President will be overjoyed to appear on the program and discuss the multitude of challenges faced by our California teachers today.

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