California schools are in need of sweeping, comprehensive reforms if the state is to raise the quality of education and student-achievement rates, according to a long-awaited research project that rigorously assesses how K-12 schools are governed and financed. The structural problems are so deep-seated that more funding and small, incremental interventions are unlikely to make a difference unless matched with a commitment to wholesale reform.

The 22 studies, requested by a bipartisan group of state policy-makers, will be released in two parts this week. The first half was unveiled in Sacramento today by Stanford University researchers, state lawmakers and representatives from the foundations that underwrote the nearly $3 million project. Tomorrow, the second release will focus on projected cost estimates for providing a quality education for California’s 6.8 million school-age children.