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SBE President Michael Kirst - Longtime Advisor to Jerry Brown, and Architect of LCFF - Plans to Step Down

May 18, 2018

State Board of Education President Michael Kirst plans to step down when Governor Jerry Brown leaves office in January. Kirst announced his intentions during the State Board of Education meeting in Sacramento on May 9.

Kirst, who is an emeritus professor of education and business administration at Stanford University, was first appointed to the state board back in 1975, during Brown's first term as California’s governor. Kirst has advised Brown on education policy for 44 years.

"Governor Brown and I have enjoyed a unique and rare working relationship," Kirst said in a statement. "We'll have a new governor in 2019, and I will not share that same relationship with him or her. I couldn't unless we had somehow met in 1974 and begun working together then."

Kirst did much of the planning for California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a major overhaul of education funding which went into effect in 2013. LCFF was intended to give local officials more freedom to spend based on their own communities' needs as well as to address inequities. Districts with foster students, low-income students, and English-language learners were given more money than others, and school officials are now required to show that they engaged community members in making budgetary decisions.

Kirst was also a key collaborator and champion of the Golden State's new color-coded dashboard system that rates schools on a variety of factors, but doesn't give them an overall score, like an A or an F.

Kirst, a Democrat, worked under President Lyndon Baines Johnson on the implementation of the original version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, as an aide in the federal Office of Education -- part of what was then the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Kirst said he will “still will be active in education policy," although he wasn't specific about his next steps.

Source: EdBrief staff

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