Getting Down to Facts: A Research Project Examining California's School Governance and Finance Systems

Liam Julian

Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice
2007

This whopper of a collection of studies--weighing in at 1,200 pages--"was not designed to recommend specific policies. Rather it aims to provide a common ground of understanding about the current state of California school finance and governance" to inform conversations about education reform in the Golden State. Fair enough. But it's hard to get super-excited when after $3 million, 18 months, and 22 studies, the main takeaways are things that most serious people already knew (albeit documented here in excruciating detail): California's system of school financing is broken, indiscriminately pouring money into schools won't help (resources must be used more effectively), teacher education is disconnected from classroom needs, etc. The project's introductory webpage calls it, "an unprecedented attempt to synthesize what we know as a basis for convening the necessary public conversations about what we should do." Well, maybe it will do some good anyway; Weighted Student Funding could get a boost from descriptions of California's education funding mess. There are lots of unserious people in the Golden State (many of them in the legislature). Perhaps they'll grow more serious about solving California's myriad education problems when (and if) they slog through all of this high-quality but often mind-numbing scholarship. You can find the reports here.

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