Michael W. Kirst

Dr. Michael W. Kirst
President, California State Board of Education and Stanford Emeritus Professor of Education

Bio and Research Interest

Michael Kirst Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University. He has been on the Stanford faculty since 1969. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, 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 for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Office of Education. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His latest books are, From High School to College with Andrea Venezia (2004) and Political Dynamics of American Education (2009). Professor Kirst is a member of both the National Academy of Education and the International Academy of Education.

Recent Positions and honors

Professor of Education; courtesy appointment, Business Administration; affiliated faculty, Political Science and Public Policy, Stanford University, 1969 -2006. Professor Emeritus- 2007

President, California State Board of Education, 2011-2013 and 1977-1981; Member, 1975-1977.

Chair, Administration and Policy Analysis, 1984-1992

Coordinator, Joint Degrees with Graduate School of Business and School of Education, 1969-2002.

Staff Director, U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, Washington, D.C. (editor and author of numerous committee background readings and working papers), 1968-1969.


Ph.D. Harvard University, 1964, Political Economy and Government.


Remaking College: The Changing Ecology of Higher Education. (Stanford University Press, 2015.)

The Political Dynamics of American Education (Richmond, Ca.:McCutchan, 2009) with Fred Wirt[4]

From High School to College: Improving Opportunities for Success in Postsecondary Education (Jossey Bass/Wiley, 2004) with Andrea Venezia.[4]

Schools in Conflict: Political Turbulence in American Education (Berkeley: McCutchan, 1992, 3rd edition), with Frederick Wirt. First edition published in 1982.

Who Controls Our Schools: American Values in Conflict (New York: W.H. Freeman, 1984).

Contemporary Issues in Education: Perspectives from Australia and U.S.A. (Berkeley: McCutchan, 1983), with Greg Hancock and David Grossman.

State School Finance Alternatives (Eugene, Oregon: University of Oregon, 1975), with L. Pierce, W. Garms, and J. Guthrie.

Revising School Finance in Florida (Tallahassee: Florida Governor's Office, 1973), with W. Garms.

Federal Aid to Education: Who Governs, Who Benefits (Lexington, Ma.: D.C. Heath, 1972), with Joel Berke.

State, School and Politics, Editor (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1972).

The Political Web of American Schools (Boston: Little, Brown, 1972), with Frederick Wirt. Revised in 1975 and republished as Political and Social Foundations of Education (Berkeley: McCutchan).

The Politics of Education at the Local, State, and Federal Levels, Editor (Berkeley: McCutchan, 1970).

Government Without Passing Laws (University of North Carolina Press, 1969).

Contact Information

View Michael W. Kirst's CV

back to top