California’s Stingy School System

Meg Whitman’s inaugural ad in her California gubernatorial campaign promises to cut taxes and fix the schools:

I’m not one of those who believes that higher spending is the solution to all education problems. But it helps. And if you look at this snazzy new interactive graphic from some of my CAP colleagues you’ll see that California is a “low” state in terms of its fiscal effort and a “very high” state in terms of its underlying costs. That’s a recipe for trouble, especially in a state with a lot of hard-to-serve students from immigrant families. Cutting taxes is not going to improve the situation.