Overview: Getting Down to Facts

Getting Down to Facts: A Research Project Examining California’s School Governance and Finance Systems

"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.

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.

The project is not designed to recommend specific policies. Rather it aims to provide common ground for understanding the current state of California school finance and governance and for a serious and substantive conversation about necessary reforms.

The project addressed three broad questions:

  1. What do California school finance and governance systems look like today?
  2. How can we use the resources that we have more effectively to improve student outcomes?
  3. To what extent are additional resources needed so that California's students can meet the goals that we have for them?

This independent research project was made possible by grants from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and The Stuart Foundation.