by Louis Freedberg
The passage of Proposition 30 represents a major victory for public schools, and for Governor Jerry Brown, but still to be tackled are multiple challenges facing California’s education future.
Here are eight principal challenges:
1. Bringing the state’s funding levels up to the U.S. average
Latest estimates rank California 46th in per capita spending compared to other states. Over the past decade, the gap between California spending per student and the national average has grown from $691 in 2001-02 to $2856 in 2010-11. According to the California Budget Project, just bringing California to the national average – let alone the highest-spending states like Massachusetts or New Jersey – would cost $17.3 billion, three times more than the amount raised by Prop. 30. The discrepancy raises a basic issue of fairness: Should California’s children be subjected to a less effective education than their peers in many others states just because they happened to be born here?