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Author David Kirp to Deliver Darden Lecture Oct. 23: ‘Is Public Education Dead?’

Noted author David L. Kirp will deliver the Darden Lecture at Old Dominion University Wednesday, Oct. 23. His talk, which begins at 7 p.m. in the University Theatre, is titled "Is Public Education Dead? Are Charters and Vouchers the Answer?" The Darden Lecture is an annual event presented by the Darden College of Education.

Kirp's talk is part of "ODU Presents," a lecture series focusing on the university's research initiatives and outreach efforts and featuring engaging speakers from a variety of disciplines. The 2013 Darden Lecture is co-sponsored by the Batten Foundation, United Way of Hampton Roads, WHRO and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. The lecture is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. RSVP to 683-3116 or www.odu.edu/univevents/rsvp (event code: DKL13).

The James D. Marver Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, Kirp is a former newspaper editor and policy consultant 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 care, gender discrimination and AIDS. His main focus has been on education and children's policy, from cradle to college and career.

His latest book, "Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for American Education" (Oxford University Press, 2013), was hailed by Publishers Weekly and has garnered endorsements across the political spectrum. It chronicles how a poor urban school district (Union City, N.J., four miles and a light year from Times Square) has transported Latino immigrant children, many of them undocumented, into the education mainstream: 90 percent of those youngsters are graduating from high school and 75 percent are going to college. (The book is available for sale at the University Village Bookstore.)

From the beginning of his career, as a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and founding director of the Harvard Center for Law and Education, children's issues have been Kirp's main focus. "The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics" (Harvard, 2007) emerged from his spending years crisscrossing the country, crouching in prekindergarten classrooms and nurseries and talking with experts.

Kirp is a recipient of Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award. He twice received the Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Award. He served on President Obama's Transition Team, and has lectured at universities around the globe.

A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School, Kirp serves on the board of two cutting-edge nonprofits, Experience Corps and Friends of the Children, and on the international advisory committee of Escuela Nueva, a Colombia-based nonprofit that has brought effective education to nearly 10 million students across Latin America. At the Goldman School of Public Policy at Berkeley, he launched the New Community Fund to promote greater student diversity.

For more information about the Oct. 23 Darden Lecture and discussion, call 683-3519.

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