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CALMatters Article Spotlights Kirst’s Influence on California Education

Mike Kirst
June 2016

Both CALMatters and Palo Alto Online highlight the prominent role Mike Kirst, President of the State Board of Education, has played in key education changes in California over the past few years. Characterizing the longstanding state education system as crippled by centralization, the articles describe Kirst’s effort to steer away from this stifling nature of ineffective structures imposed by the federal and state government. Pursuant to this view, Governor Jerry Brown and Kirst are charting new path for California where classroom problems are dealt with by teachers, principals, and local school administrators rather than by far-removed lawmakers or government bureaucrats. One hallmark of this approach is the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, which provides additional resources to traditionally underserved students and grants local school districts substantial discretion in how to spend state money. The uncharted territory is a push towards participatory government where community stakeholders and educators work as partners to best meet students’ and communities’ needs.