An Agenda for the Future: Mapping the Terrain of California Education

California Economy & Education Budget

Bohn, S., & Mejia, M. C. (2017). Economy. In California’s Future. San Francisco, CA: Public Policy Institute of California. Available at

California’s Future is a collection of briefs on a variety of key topics about the progress of the state. This brief presents economic data for California from October 2016, with a focus on employment. California experienced greater job growth than the United States average, and unemployment continues to fall, though it is higher than the national average. This improvement in jobs numbers varied across the state, with higher unemployment in rural areas—particularly the Central Valley—than in most urban areas. Most of California's job growth came in construction and the service industries, while manufacturing jobs actually declined by 1.2 percent from the previous year.

Briefs on California’s health care, housing, and social safety net can be found in the Out-of-School Challenges tab of the briefing materials.

Fensterwald, J., & Harrington, T. (2017, May 11). With higher revenues, Brown to provide $2.8 billion more next year for K-12 schools [Web log]. EdSource. Available at

The article discusses education funding included in Governor Jerry Brown’s May 2017 budget proposal. The current proposal increases formula funding for K-12 schools by 5.4 percent over 2016-17; this increase of $2.8 billion is $1.1 billion more than the more austere budget that Brown offered in January. Of the increase, $1.4 billion will go toward the Local Control Funding Formula and $1 billion is targeted for one-time expenses. The article also describes proposed increases and cuts to various programs throughout the state, including early childhood education, after school programs, and the California college and university system.

Zinshteyn, M. (2017, May 23). California would lose $400 million in federal K-12 education funding under Trump budget [Web log]. EdSource. Available at

EdSource reports that the May 2017 update to the Trump administration’s proposed budget would result in cuts to California’s teacher preparation and after school programs, and increased funding for charter schools. The budget establishes the Education Innovation and Research Program, which would fund states’ and districts’ research and practices related to school choice. Title I would receive $15.9 billion, but $1 billion of it is dedicated to increasing states’ and districts’ ability to offer school choice to students outside their boundaries. Higher education and support for low-income students to attend college would also lose significant funding. At the time the article was published, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Governor Jerry Brown, and the California Charter Schools Association did not support the budget, and other stakeholders expressed concern with the proposal.

Miller, R. (2017). CalSTRS funding: An update. Legislative Analyst’s Office. Available at

This brief from the Legislative Analyst’s Office explains that recent shortfalls in expected funding for the teacher pension system are due to under-projections for teacher life expectancy, salary increases, and poor investment performance. To address underfunding, recent legislation increases contributions to the system from teachers, districts, and the state. The author cautions that although CalSTRS is on track to be fully funded by 2040, further unanticipated factors could threaten its financial viability. The brief closes with a suggestion for the state to increase its contributions to safeguard the pension fund.