Retention of New Teachers in California

Posted on February 9th, 2006 — in Education

How to raise test scores in California schools? Keep teachers on the job longer, since experienced teachers are more likely to produce higher scores. And how to retain teachers? According to the Public Policy Institute of California, it turns out that higher pay may not be the most cost-effective method. Researchers found that teacher development programs are cheaper and produce better retention rates. Sadly, funding for several teacher development programs has been cut.
Retention of New Teachers in California


Special Survey on Californians and the Environment

Posted on February 8th, 2006 — in Polls and Surveys :: Resources and Environment

January polling numbers suggested that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger got a boost from his bold “State of the State” address. Well, bouncing balls always go down, and a new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California shows the governor’s approval rating tumbling from the “high” last month of 40 percent to 35 percent. One area where the governor has tried to differentiate himself from the national GOP: environmental issues. It’s not working. On environmental and coastal issues, his approval rating is 28 percent, essentially as bad as the president’s numbers.
Special Survey on Californians and the Environment


Retiree Health Care: A Growing cost for Government

Posted on February 7th, 2006 — in Demographics :: Health Care

The Legislative Analyst’s Office notes that unlike pensions, retiree health benefits are not generally funded in advance, but are handled through a “pay-as-you-go” system each year. These costs are rising, and the “pay-as-you-go” structure will only exacerbate the problem in coming years, when countless Baby Boomers will start to retire. As the population gets grayer and grayer, it will be harder and harder to keep providing health care for older folks.
Retiree Health Care: A Growing cost for Government


California Infrastructure Coalition Annual Report

Posted on February 6th, 2006 — in Growth, Development & Infrastructure

California seems focused on all things infrastructure at the moment. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put the issue front and center with his proposal for a massive bond-funded program of infrastructure investment. So the California Infrastructure Coalition is timely in releasing its 2005 annual report. Included are “report cards” on the condition of infrastructure in different regions around the state.
California Infrastructure Coalition Annual Report


A Clean Water Future for California

Posted on February 5th, 2006 — in Resources and Environment

California Water boards are required to develop plans for cleaning the state’s most polluted waterways. But Environment California says many of the plans are too weak. Here are some recommendations for how to strengthen the plans.
A Clean Water Future for California


Three California Election Megatrends and Their Implications in the 2006 Gubernatorial Election

Posted on February 4th, 2006 — in Demographics :: Politics :: Polls and Surveys

A new Field Poll outlines three “Megatrends” that are reshaping California. No, they don’t include the tendency of Democratic operatives to join the Schwarzenegger administration. The pollsters cite the increase in Latino voters, the emergence of an east-west divide rather than north-south, and the increase in voting by mail (which seems the least mega of the three).
Three California Election Megatrends and Their Implications in the 2006 Gubernatorial Election


Poverty in California

Posted on February 3rd, 2006 — in Economy and Business

Everybody always cites California’s “Golden Age” — essentially the Pat Brown years — as a time of great accomplishment in infrastructure. Too often ignored is the fact that there were also social achievements in helping the poor and disadvantaged. A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California notes that the state’s poverty rate is higher now than it was in the late ’60s. The story is less true for the country as a whole: The California poverty rate used to be lower than the national mark, now it is higher.
Poverty in California


Competition and Redistricting in California: Lessons for Reform

Posted on February 2nd, 2006 — in Politics

Redistricting reform could create more competitive congressional and legislative districts in California, but most seats are still likely to have large Democratic or Republican majorities. That’s according to new research from the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC-Berkeley. There’s no reasonable way to make all districts competitive, since people huddle together with their ideological soulmates — Democrats living near Democrats and Republicans near Republicans.
Competition and Redistricting in California: Lessons for Reform


Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends

Posted on February 1st, 2006 — in Demographics :: Economy and Business

The growing gap between the rich and poor in America has long been a concern for many on the left. A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute breaks down this trend state-by-state — and finds California has some of the largest disparities.
Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends