School Spending Up; Student Performance Down

School educationCalifornia school boards are prevented by the state Legislature and governor from offering disproportionate pay to employees willing to work in high-poverty zones, cutting pension spending, altering tenure rules or granting principals the power to fire poorly performing employees. The outcome: poor student performance and shaky finances despite a big increase in spending.

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All it takes is 62 legislators and the governor to change that outcome. Every legislator knows that school districts should not be forced to grant permanent employment after just 24 months or to divert money from current to retired teachers and should be permitted to pay more to teachers who take on tougher assignments and to fire under-performers.

The only thing stopping them is fear. They are afraid of CTA, the largest commercial and political special interest roaming the halls of the State Capitol. But don’t blame CTA. Its members collect ~$70 billion per year from taxpayers. You too would roam the Capitol if you collected that kind of money from legislators. Blame legislators and governors who don’t have the courage to attack the real causes of school distress. It is they who are letting down students — especially our most vulnerable students. Just look at what’s happening in San Francisco and around the state.

But the legislature and governor don’t get all the blame. Believe it or not, some districts subsidize retirees at the expense of current employees. San Francisco could pay teachers an extra $40 million this year if it stopped subsidizing health insurance for retirees who, like their fellow Californians, could obtain health insurance on the state’s excellent Obamacare exchange (Covered California) until they become eligible for Medicare. The city of Glendale shows how. The San Francisco school board doesn’t need permission from the state to make that change right now. But instead, it is asking voters to approve an additional tax on property. Middle class residents already find it tough going in San FranciscoNow the school board wants to make it even harder  in order to subsidize retirees. Fixing that doesn’t take rocket science. It just takes courage.

ecturer and research scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. Donald J. says

    They might make a move in the right direction by not hiring individuals who are products of the California system and invest in individuals form out of Sate, preferably the middle of America where they still hold education in high esteem and focus on the students rather than Socialist Government/Union self serving corruption.

  2. Shane Conway says

    Public education is nothing more than a creative work program for those who cannot make it in a real world environment. Our children are indoctrinated into the socialist world and turned against us. Parents should educate themselves and learn their families’ rights to be home schooled. Teaching and passing on one’s knowledge and skills to a new generation is not that hard. Only time consuming. What is more important than our next generation of leaders and capitalists?

  3. Bogiewheel says

    California has adoped the Swedish educational system because they
    don’t know how to satisfactorily educate; indoctrination is the norm. 70% of students from California “schools” will always be followers.

  4. Walter E. Strong says

    It’ll never change until CA implodes. To hasten that even just give the liberals everything they want.

  5. California would be wiser to go Canadian with regard to health care, and establish a state-based single payer system, and then to otherwise go Swiss with respect to education, repealing all of the central state restrictions mentioned in the first paragraph above (“offering disproportionate pay to employees willing to work in high-poverty zones, cutting pension spending, altering tenure rules or granting principals the power to fire poorly performing employees”), devolving such powers to the local education agenices that are actually negotiating contracts with teachers and other staff.

  6. Victoria Smith says

    These and the myriad other issues this state is facing can all be traced back to the failed policies of this and the previous California state legislators and their errant governors, with maybe one or two exceptions, like Ronald Reagan.

  7. Poli Sci Nerd says

    “the state’s excellent Obamacare exchange (Covered California)? REALLY??

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