If you are confused about the differences between Propositions 30 and 38, the competing initiatives that will raise billions of dollars for California public schools, you are not alone.
The initiatives deal with what is arguably the most complex public policy issue in California today – how our public schools are financed.
To help reduce voter confusion, EdSource, founded 35 years ago to clarify complex education issues, has for the first time produced a visually appealing infographic – in this case to clarify for voters the main similarities and differences between the two initiatives.
The infographic, which can be viewed on EdSource’s website here and in pdf form here, targets a hidden factor that will have a major impact on the election: voter confusion. That confusion can have a direct impact on whether voters vote for or against an initiative, rather than assessing it on its merits. As USC’s Sherry Bebitch Jeffe told the Associated Press last week, “When California voters are in doubt, when they’re confused about initiatives, they tend to vote no.”
To reach the widest possible audience on the most important education issue on the November ballot, the infographic is being made available to news outlets and other organizations that wish to carry it on their websites.
The infographic makes it clear that voters have a choice of voting for one initiative, or both. If both pass, both initiatives state that only the one with the most votes will become law.
However, if some voters vote for Prop. 30 and others vote for Prop. 38, the impact will be to divide the majority of voters who polls show support a tax increase on behalf of schools, drastically reducing the chances that either initiative will pass.
That is why some organizations, like the California School Boards Association, are encouraging Californians to vote for both initiatives.
Voters seeking more details on the initiatives can consult the Official Voter Information Guide, as well as other analyses such as those produced by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Budget Project, the League of Women Voters, and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. They can also go to the official campaign websites of Prop. 30 and Prop. 38.
But EdSource felt that voters unschooled in the arcane details of school finance deserve a presentation that is easier to understand than complex policy analyses but goes beyond oversimplified 30-second political that confuse rather than clarify.