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Report · October 2003

High Expectations, Modest Means: The Challenge Facing California’s Public Schools

Jon Sonstelie, Sharmaine Heng, Ray Reinhard, and Heather Rose

This report provides background information on the state’s academic standards, resources, and funding mechanisms. Its findings point to relatively low levels of school spending in California, a large gap between academic standards and school resources, a finance system based on previous funding levels rather than actual school resources and their costs, and questions about the most efficient uses of the state’s already modest school funds. In addition, the report provides a clear, authoritative discussion of Proposition 98 and its origins. The report concludes that the upcoming work of the Quality Education Commission, which is charged with developing school prototypes and estimating their costs, may provide a useful bridge between the State Board of Education, which sets academic and content standards, and the legislature, which allocates school funds.


K–12 Education