Californians received a grim report card for their troubled public schools this January when the RAND Corporation released a report commissioned by the Hewlett Foundation showing state funded schools are failing at almost every measurable level.  Once considered the best public schools in the nation, California schools now rank at or near the bottom.  Among the findings:

  • Per-pupil funding is consistently below national average
  • Teacher pay falls below national averages when adjusted for cost of living
  • California fourth and fifth graders have consistently scored lower on reading and mathematics tests, currently ranking only above Mississippi and Louisiana
  • Teachers lacking full credentials account for 15% of California public school teachers
  • The most inexperienced teachers teach in the neediest school districts
  • California has the second highest teacher-to-student ratio in the nation
  • California is below the national average in spending per pupil on school construction

A San Francisco Chronicle editorial responding to the report noted that “It will take resources to return our schools to the high performance we expect of them. The RAND study confirms that California is nowhere near keeping up with other states in education funding. Without such a commitment, other “reforms” amount to tinkering on the margins of a serious problem.”

Click here to download a copy of the RAND report.