Editor’s Note: California Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a new formula for funding the state’s public schools. Known as the Local Control Funding Formula, the plan seeks to address glaring inequities plaguing the current K-12 school finance system. In 2008, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst co-authored a policy brief that became the foundation for Brown’s proposed formula.
“This changes almost everything,” said Michael Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education and professor emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, in opening his testimony on March 13 before the California State Senate Education Committee. And he then listed examples of the new deeper learning standards that are to be adopted: “Students will be able to understand, describe, explain, justify, prove, derive, assess, illustrate, analyze, model, construct, compare, investigate, summarize and evaluate — those are some of them.”
Along with the budget, the governor proposed a set of policy changes—based on a report co-written by former Stanford education professor Michael Kirst, currently the president of the California State Board of Education—that would grant additional funding to schools with a high concentration of low-income and English learner students.
“It is really a comprehensive overhaul of the school finance system and the largest change since the passing of Proposition 13 in 1978,” Kirst said.
Finance policy plays an important role in supporting success in higher education. Most state finance policies have been developed primarily to address selective research and flagship universities, not broad-access schools. This brief identifies fiscal policies that provide disincentives for broad-access schools to improve student success, as well as opportunities to encourage improved performance at these schools going forward.