David L. Kirp, James D. Marver Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, is a policy consultant and former newspaper editor as well as an academic. In his 17 books and scores of articles, in both the popular press and scholarly journals, he has tackled some of America’s biggest social problems, including affordable housing, access to health, gender discrimination and AIDS.
Throughout his career, Kirp's main focus has been on education and children’s policy, from cradle to college and career. He was a member of the 2008 Presidential Transition Team, where he drafted a policy framework for early education.
His book Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools was named outstanding book of 2013 by the American Education Research Association. His previous book, First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming the Lives of Children, won the National School Board Journal award for the best education book of 2011. Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics received the Association of American Publishers Award for Excellence.
Kirp's account of the market-oriented drift of higher education, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education, garnered the Council for Advancement and Support of Higher Education’s research award. He is a member of the National Academy of Education.
A former Sacramento Bee associate editor, his articles have appeared in a wide variety of journals, magazines, and newspapers — including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation and the Huffington Post, among others. In 2015 he was invited to be a contributing writer to the Opinion section of the New York Times.
David Kirp is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School. He serves on the board of Friends of the Children and on the international advisory committee of Escuela Nueva, a Colombia-based nonprofit that has educated millions of children in the developing world.
He is a recipient of Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award.