The California Budget Project has issued a series of reports analyzing the impact of the Governor’s budget on local communities. These new analyses include county-by-county breakdowns showing the impact to schools and programs, including CalWORKs, IHSS, and SSI/SSP.
Within the context of a severe budget crisis and increasing concern about students’ preparation for postsecondary education and the workforce, the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning presents its 10th annual report on the status of the teaching profession in California.
Will there be enough college graduates to meet the needs of California’s future economy? The Public Policy Institute of California offers evidence of the future workforce skills gap and discusses the causes, magnitude, and likely consequences of the gap.
In this edition of Conditions of Education in California six of California’s leading policy scholars provide analysis of the urgent educational challenges facing our state. The six authors provide baseline data on the current performance of California’s schools and students, and make specific recommendations for policy changes that will support long-term improvement.
Californians these days rank the economy and jobs as their major concerns, but education also scores high as a significant worry among residents, according to the results of a major Public Policy Institute of California survey released today.
53% of Californians view the quality of K-12 public schools as a major problem. 31% view it as somewhat of a problem. 59% say that the public school system needs major changes, but few trust the governor or the legislature to get anything done. In terms of geography, more people in the Inland Empire gave their public schools average or lower grades than any other region in the state, with 47% ranking the local school systems C or below. The Bay Area was close behind, with 46% ranking the public schools C or below.
When asked whether they would support raising taxes just to maintain current spending levels for public schools, residents were evenly divided, with 49% saying they would be willing and 48% saying they would not. Even more residents were opposed to raising the sales tax to accomplish this goal, with 63% opposed.
The PPIC report is full data in response to other questions that residents were asked about the state of education in California, including adequacy and efficiency of state funding, resource equity, teacher quality, curriculum goals, and perceptions of the state’s relative education rankings.
California’s public school spending lags behind that of most of the rest of the nation. According to a California Budget Project fact sheet, California ranks 34th in K-12 spending per student, 34th in educational spending as a percentage of personal income, and 48th in the nation in student-per-teacher ratios.
The CBP report notes that California was either equal to or ahead of most of the rest of the country in these measures until beginning in roughly 1981-1982, which coincides with the point in time when Proposition 13 property tax revenue reductions caused a shift in financing from local to state revenues (a shift that was also precipitated by a series of court decisions starting in 1976 that held that California’s dependence on local revenues for public school financing discriminated against students in districts with low property tax wealth bases).
As of 2005-2006, the latest period for which figures are available, California’s public schools got 61.4% of their funding from the state, contrasted with 47.7% for the United States as a whole, according to numbers from the National Education Association.
A recent report from the California Budget Project dissects the governor’s proposal to privatize the state lottery and finds it wanting in several respects. According to the report, the proposal overestimates the amount of money that the state would likely get from privatization (in the range of $13-18 billion rather than the $37 billion claimed by the governor’s office).
Privatization would also likely conflict with existing or pending tribal gaming compacts. It would also more likely than not wind up enticing low-income Californians, who already buy the bulk of lottery tickets, to spend more money on the lottery.
A recent Public Policy Institute of California poll indicates that 52% of all California residents believe that the quality of K-12 public education in the state is a “big problem,” but the same percentage also believe that their local public schools rate an A or a B.
Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (58%) and the Inland Empire (57%) are more likely to view public schools as a “big problem” than those in Los Angeles (50%), the Central Valley (48%), or Orange and San Diego Counties (44%).
PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Education, April 2007 [Public Policy Institute of California]
Inexperienced teachers teaching disadvantaged kids is nothing new. The Education Trust-West takes a look at California’s latest effort to solve the problem.
PACE examines efforts to improve student achievement at three case-study districts: Lemon Grove, Long Beach, and Ceres.