Policy & Finance

State Education Policy

The coronavirus pandemic has upended education reform in California, and effectively put on hold a series of major reforms initiated by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. Those reforms resulted in the Local Control Funding Formula in 2013, which shifted decision-making back to local districts and steered more money to districts with higher proportions of low-income children, English learners and foster and homeless children. Proposition 98, adopted in 1988, sets the overall yearly level of K-12 and community college spending through a complex formula tied to the growth in the state economy. Districts were required to describe they will spend their funds in a Local Control and Accountability Plan. The state developed the California School Dashboard to show how schools and districts are doing on a color-coded rating system on multiple indicators. Currently, however, the major focus of education policies is on how to deal with the pandemic, and the extent to which students will get their instruction via distance learning.