The research evidence suggests that state leaders should focus on:

Building on current reforms

During the past decade, California’s education system has undergone major reforms that have resulted in improvements, but the system is still in need of capacity building.

Addressing achievement gaps

Large achievement gaps by race, ethnicity, income and English learner status persist in California and need a continued focus through multiple approaches, including enhanced early childhood education.

Increasing funding and fixing systems

Funding for schools in California has improved but remains short of adequate levels given the goals of state policies. Moreover, funding reforms left critical issues unresolved.

Across 36 studies, our researchers found:


California's charter schools enroll about 10% of public school students and many have strong student outcomes; however, the state's charter laws are weak on charter authorization, oversight, and renewal.


Successful implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula and California's new academic standards hinges on how well diverse agencies and local school districts can work together.


California's teacher data system makes it difficult to evaluate teachers' capabilities, diagnose weaknesses in teacher preparation programs, or assess the effectiveness of various professional pathways.