Professor of Education and Business Administration, Stanford University

Improving California’s School Governance and Finance Systems – Enabling More Effective Schools

Emeritus Professor of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University. He is a faculty affiliate with the Department of Political Science, and has a courtesy appointment with the Graduate School of Business. Professor Kirst was a member of the California State Board of Education (1975-1982) and its president from 1977 to 1981.

Dr. Kirst received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Dartmouth College, his M.P.A. in government and economics from Harvard University, and his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard.

Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, and Director of Program Planning and Evaluation for the Bureau of Elementary and Secondary Education in the U.S. Office of Education (now the U.S. Department of Education). He was a Budget Examiner in the Federal Office of Budget and Management, and Associate Director of the White House Fellows. He was a program analyst for the Title I ESEA Program at its inception in 1965.

Dr. Kirst is active in several professional organizations. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences. He has been a member of the National Academy of Education since 1979. He was Vice-President of the American Educational Research Association and a commissioner of the Education Commission of the States. Kirst co-founded Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).

A prolific writer, Dr. Kirst has authored ten books, including The Political Dynamics of American Education(2005). As a policy generalist, Professor Kirst has published articles on school finance politics, curriculum politics, intergovernmental relations, as well as education reform policies.

He is a member of the management and research staff of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, a federally funded center. His recent book, From High School to College (2004), concerns improving student preparation for success in postsecondary education.

While Kirst’s early work focused primarily on k-12 policy and politics, much of his recent work has focused on college preparation and college success at broad access postsecondary institutions that are open enrollment, or accept all qualified applicants. The disconnections between k-12 and postsecondary education cause much of the low college completion rates. Kirst’s research demonstrates that only k-12 and postsecondary education working together to improve preparation and college readiness will increase college completion.

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