Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series Features David Kirp, April 24

Former member of President Obama's Transition Team explores revamp of highly challenged school district and potential to improve all schools.

Dr. David Kirp, professor of education at the University of California at Berkeley will present the second lecture in the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series, on April 24 at 5 p.m. in the Korn Hall Auditorium at UCLA. The nationally recognized expert on education policy will discuss his highly anticipated book, “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools,” which will be released in April by Oxford University Press. A panel discussion with GSE&IS Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco and professor of education Patricia Gándara will follow Kirp’s lecture.

Kirp, who is the James D. Marver Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, is considered one of today’s foremost thinkers in education. His work is regularly featured in the media, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post. After the 2008 national election, he served on President Obama’s Transition Team.

In “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools,” Kirp tells the story of how New Jersey’s Union City School District. School officials and administrators, who serve a largely immigrant population with a high unemployment rate and Spanish as the dominant language, ignored trendy reforms in favor of proven game-changers like quality pre-kindergarten education, principals who create an environment of academic success through students’ behavior and attitude, and hands-on help for teachers to transform their schools. Among the district’s successes are an 89.5 percent high school graduation rate in 2011, nearly 15 percent higher than the national high school graduation rate.

Dean Suárez-Orozco reviewed “Improbable Scholars” with high praise, stating that the book “goes beyond the facile cure-alls, clichés, and yes, magical thinking, that plague much writing in education today.” Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.
The Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series hosts distinguished leaders and innovators at the forefront of the education and information fields to share their expertise and insights with the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies and the Los Angeles community at large. This event is presented in partnership with The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA.

Admission to this event is free. However, an RSVP by April 18 is necessary as seats are limited. Complimentary parking is available in Lot 5 on campus.

To RSVP, click here. For more information, please contact the GSE&IS Office of External Relations at or at 310-206-0375.