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David Kirp to speak on “Kids First” today, Sept. 6

Don’t miss today’s appearance at UCOP by UC Berkeley Professor David L. Kirp, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, 12 to 1 p.m., in the Franklin Lobby One Conference Room.

Kirp’s talk, “Waaay Beyond No Child Left Behind: A Kids-First Agenda,” will focus on his latest book, Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming Children’s Lives and American’s Future.

Here’s an excerpt:

“What transpires before kindergarten — in the first “school,” the family, as well as in preschool — influences everything that happens later in kids’ lives. And during their school years youngsters need more than good teachers. Growing up is a journey fraught with challenges. The hours after 3 p.m. and during the summer are critical. Children need to be emotionally and physically healthy. They need reliable and caring adult guidance through the shoals of adolescence and into the world beyond the schoolhouse. They need financial resources for college or vocational training. Most of all they need to feel connected to and part of a larger community and need to be aware of their options for finding their place in it as workers and citizens.”

Kirp’s talk kicks off the UCOP President’s Speaker Series: On California. The series of talks is intended to showcase the talent and public contributions of UC faculty, alumni and other prominent Californians doing groundbreaking work in the areas of education, policy/politics and research.

“My hope is that OP employees will not only enjoy interacting with some of UC’s and California’s most knowledgeable and engaging experts, but that staff will also increase their understanding of the myriad ways in which UC benefits society,” said President Yudof in explaining his idea for the series.

His intent, he said, is to bring examples of the kind of research, innovation and intellectual exploration that occurs every day on UC campuses to OP’s Franklin Building offices, so UCOP staff can get a firsthand view of the great work UC faculty and alumni are doing to address the big issues facing the state and nation.

Historically, UC has been California’s most powerful agent of change, a role that will continue to serve the state well in the future, Yudof said. UC’s faculty are leaders in areas like climate change, policymaking and medical research and our best hope for ushering the state into a new era of prosperity.

“Kirp is a brilliant public policy expert, as well as a coauthor and personal friend, who exemplifies the talent we have throughout the university and California,” Yudof added.

Kirp and Yudof in 1974 coauthored the textbook Educational Policy and the Law, now in its fifth edition. Kirp, a professor of public policy at Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, has written 15 books on social policy subjects ranging from higher education to AIDS. He served as a member of the 2008–09 Presidential Transition Team.

“The [new] book elaborates and illustrates a policy-relevant version of the Golden Rule,” Kirp said, “that every child deserves what you’d want for the child you love.” He proposes the “kids-first agenda” to benefit children — across social strata and from cradle to college — by targeting reading skills, reducing teen pregnancy, providing mentorships and implementing other methods that have proved successful in education experiments across the country.

The book has received high praise for its “knowledge-based” approach (Edward Zigler, Yale University) and its “important ideas for giving our kids better lives” (Robert Reich, UC Berkeley).

President Yudof will be on hand to introduce Kirp and inaugurate the series of talks, planned to occur approximately once a quarter. Check Link for upcoming announcements on future speakers.

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