Getting Down to Facts is the largest independent investigation ever of how California governs and funds public education. It was commissioned at the request of a bipartisan group of California leaders, including the governor’s Advisory Committee on Educational Excellence, the president pro tem of the California Senate, the speaker of the California Assembly, the superintendent of public instruction, and the state secretary of education.
The purpose of this unprecedented project was to describe California’s school finance and governance systems, identify aspects of those systems that hinder the effective use of resources, and estimate costs of achieving a range of student outcome goals. The project was not designed to advance specific policy recommendations, but rather aims to provide a common factual ground to promote informed conversation among policy makers and the public as they consider necessary reforms. Coordinated by Stanford University’s Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice, the project was independently financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation. The resulting twenty-three reports represent eighteen months of research completed in early 2007 by scholars at universities and research institutions across the nation.