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The California Way, Learning Policy Institute

"Conversations With and About Mike"

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In 2013, California adopted a bold, new approach to equitable funding, a more holistic vision of student and school success, and community engagement in decision making. These changes define a new era in the state’s educational history, which has come to be known as the “California Way.” New policies focus learning on 21st-century skills of critical thinking and problem solving, more positive supports for students, capacity building through aligned educator preparation standards and professional development, and a continuous improvement process based on data about student progress on multiple measures to inform local investments. Outcomes to date include improved achievement and graduation rates, reduced suspension rates, and increased school safety, but there is more work to do to solve financial challenges, strengthen early learning, solve teacher shortages, close gaps in opportunity and outcomes, and build educator capacity.

On Serrano

See especially pp 4-5.


Editor’s Note: The Appendix for “Conversations With and About Mike” contains transcripts for the recorded audio and video clips. To view the Audio Transcripts go to this page >


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About the Project

The purpose of this biography project is to make a fascinating man’s life and accomplishments come alive. Dr. Michael W. Kirst, while recognized in influential academic and policy circles, is generally unknown to those most actively engaged in American education in the trenches of the nation’s classrooms and local boardrooms, including teachers, principals, and school district leaders.

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About the Author

Dick Jung first met Dr. Michael W. Kirst four decades ago. Mike, then Professor in the Schools of Education and Business, was completing his first year as President of California’s State Board of Education. During Jerry Brown’s first term as Governor, as Mike tacked between Palo Alto and Sacramento, Dick served as the Teaching Assistant for Mike’s Stanford “Politics of Education” course.

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About the Team

Dick is supported by a project team of content, digital research, and online experts that includes a senior education policy reviewer, a digital archives manager, and a website and multimedia design coordinator.

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