“Getting Down to Facts” is a research project of more than 20 studies designed to provide California’s citizens with comprehensive information about the status of the state’s school finance and governance systems. The overall hypothesis underlying this research project is that improvement to California’s school finance and governance structures could enable its schools to be more effective.
Over an 18 months period from September 2005 to March 2007, the Getting Down to Facts Project brought together an extraordinary array of scholars from 32 institutions with diverse expertise and policy orientations. It represents an unprecedented attempt to synthesize what we know as a basis for convening the necessary public conversations about what we should do. “Getting Down to Facts” was specifically requested by the Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence, former Secretary of Education Alan Bersin, the President pre Tem of the California Senate, the Speaker of the California Assembly, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
A yearlong, $3 million evaluation of California public schools by more than 30 education experts reveals a “deeply flawed” system that misdirects school money, emphasizes paperwork over progress, and fails to send the best teachers into the neediest schools.
“Getting Down to Facts” — a collection of 22 studies — begins with the sobering reminder that despite years of academic reform, California students of all ethnicities still score among the worst in the nation on tests of basic reading and math.
A year ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a bipartisan group of state educators and lawmakers asked the researchers to find out what was wrong with the public school system. All agreed that once the report came out, they would together try to fix the problems.
Joel Rubin and Howard Blume have more.