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Reason Foundation

California's K-12 Education Primer

Lisa Snell
May 1, 2005

Introduction

Public school finance systems are in flux across the United States. In many states, tight budgets have put pressure on education financing. Several states are involved in lawsuits over the adequate financing of public schools. In addition, accountability requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act are pressuring states to link their school finance systems to student performance.

Yet in most states, education spending is not tied to student outcomes. California is no exception. The national trend is toward larger education budgets with little regard for student outcomes.

In 2005 all eyes are on the state of California, as Gov-ernor Schwarzenegger has introduced several education proposals that would tie education funding more closely to student outcomes. In the upcoming 2005-2006 budget nego-tiations between Governor Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislators, education funding will take center stage. The rest of the nation is closely watching several controversial educa-tion proposals in California, from merit pay to local control of education funding. Over the last few months, Governor Schwarzenegger has released details of his education agenda in his State of the State address and his proposed budget for 2005-2006. This brief will address the major education issues as first framed by Governor Schwarzenegger.


Lisa Snell is Director of Education

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