I see a lot of perspective about giving Kirk and crew an outdated ship. Problem being they're looking at it from a 2012 perspective and not a 1986 perspective. On screen and TV until that point we've really only seen constitution class, Miranda class, oberth, and Excelsior represented. At that point and time I don't think anyone from 1986 thought a constitution class vessel was anything but one of the best class vessels not in experimental phase and they gave the viewers their ship back.
I also don't think Kirk was viewed as a problem child. Case in point? Who's insignia was adopted after the 5 year mission for all of starfleet? Kirks delta. If Kirk was such a pain and unstable, he would have never been allowed to be the federation rep to the Klingons or be highly revered by his predecessors in the 24th century. Saving the Earth countless times during the 5year mission and during movie era earns you a little respect. Even in the 24th Picard explains Star fleet doesn't want officers who just blindly follows orders. If Kirk only followed his orders, The president would have been assassinated by his own federation, and earth would have been gone.
He was demoted for a reason.. To stay out of an office and keep saving the federation from its own stupidity. Lol