Education Reform & Finance in California

Sep 21, 2007


Lance T. Izumi, JD
Director of Education Studies
Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy

Jorge Ruiz de Velasco, JD, PhD
Director of the Institute for Research on Education Policy & Practice
Stanford University

Thomas Timar, PhD
Professor of Education & Director of CAP-Ed
University of California, Davis


After months of careful study, it is clear that California's students are far behind other states on many measures of achievement. Studies have produced unsettling results: California is ranked 3rd lowest in reading and 2nd lowest in science in the nation. What has gone wrong?

Recently, Stanford University commissioned "Getting Down to Facts: School Finance and Governance in California" at the request of Governor Schwarzenegger's Committee on Education Excellence, Senate Pro Tem Don Perata, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. The study, which included over 30 organizations and academics, concluded that "California's school finance and governance systems are fundamentally flawed"(pg61) and no silver bullet exists to solve the problem.

Sparred by the findings, Governor Schwarzenegger deemed 2008 the "Year of Education". But what exactly can policy makers do to reform education over the next year? What changes should the legislature prioritize? How would these reforms affect California's population?

On Friday, September 21, Capital Campus California will host a discussion for Sacramento's policy making community in light of the upcoming regular session. The discussion seeks to address the major questions facing policy makers like:

  • Now that more information on California's education system is available, what can policy makers do to ensure reform will create real change?
  • Why have piecemeal reforms failed? What part of the system is fundamentally broken?
  • What role will finance and governance play in reforming education?

Participants will hear from leading academics and policy analysts on these questions and more.  Copies of the new "Getting Down to Facts: School Finance and Governance in California" summary will also be available.