To find a time of robust education funding levels in California, you have to look back pretty far — more than 40 years, in fact. Back then, California was one of the nation’s leaders in public education. We ranked among the top 10 states in per-pupil spending, and our students ranked in the top five among the states in achievement.Today, California sits near the bottom on all of these important measures. We rank 48th in per pupil spending and we are dead last in the ratio of teachers to students.
This didn’t happen overnight. Our students have been the victims of political gamesmanship and bad decisions that have made the state’s financial situation so dire. When the national recession first hit, we found ourselves facing an immediate budget deficit of more than $26 billion. Today, we find ourselves facing even deeper cuts in public education funding.