The Gates, Hewlett, Irvine, and Stuart Foundations recently announced a $2.6 million research project called “Getting Down to Facts,” which will examine what reforms are needed to improve the effectiveness of California’s public school system, and how much it would cost to provide every child in the state with a quality education.

A bi-partisan group of state leaders, including Ted Mitchell of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Committee on Educational Excellence, Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, Senate President pro-Tem Don Perata, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, formally requested the research.
During a March 30 news conference to announce the project, Senator Perata pledged that the research “will not die on the shelf,” adding that it “should be the driving force behind what we do legislatively and with the budget in 2007.”

The research effort has already garnered significant attention within the state education and policy communities, and has been the subject of numerous articles and editorials across the state.

The project consists of a series of 23 studies conducted by top education researchers in California and across the country. The studies, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2006, will explore three broad questions:

  1. What do California school finance and governance systems look like today?
  2. How can we use the resources that we have more effectively to improve student outcomes?
  3. To what extent are additional resources needed so that California’s students can meet the goals that we   have set for them?

The research effort is being coordinated by Susanna Loeb, a noted economist and Professor at Stanford University’s School of Education. Professor Loeb, who has gained international acclaim for her work on school finance reform, designed the studies that will be conducted by researchers at several institutions.

A summary of the “Getting Down to Facts” project is available at: