California’s Per Pupil Spending

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

New Haven Unified School District students are finally returning to school this week after the district and teachers reached agreement on a new contract. But a close vote and angry words are signs no one is happy. The settlement is temporary, just as in LA and Oakland earlier this year. That’s because the district and the […]

Read more

Week Three: New Haven California Unified Strike

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Teachers in New Haven are striking for the same reason teachers walked out in Oakland and LA earlier this year: Increases in school district revenues are not translating into increases in salary. School districts should have more than enough money to provide raises. They’ve been the beneficiaries of a 60 percent increase in state spending […]

Read more

For Whom Senate Bill 29 Tolls

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Medi-Cal is an entitlement to health insurance provided to low-income Californians. With 13 million customers, Medi-Cal is a voucher-type system funded by a combination of the state and federal government. Spending on Medi-Cal in the fiscal year starting July 1 is projected to be $102 billion, $23 billion of which is projected to come from […]

Read more

Scapegoating In Sacramento

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Govern For California supports lawmakers who legislate in the general interest. This week two bills will be up for votes in the State Assembly that are pure examples of special interest legislation. To explain, first we must start with an understanding of Medicare, which is government-funded but not necessarily government-provided healthcare. Though funded by the […]

Read more

Fearing the Wheelbarrow

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

According to the Smithsonian, researchers believe the wheelbarrow first appeared in classical Greece between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C. and could pay for itself in just 3 or 4 days in terms of labor savings. Its invention drove a massive improvement in productivity that freed humans for other endeavors. But imagine if the laborers […]

Read more

It’s K-12, Stupid

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

To keep Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign on message, campaign strategist James Carville hung a sign in Clinton’s Little Rock campaign headquarters that read “It’s the economy, stupid.” The country was in recession then and Carville knew a Clinton victory depended on keeping voters focused on that subject. Clinton won.

Read more

Bugs in the K-12 System

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Dear Legislators and GFC Supporters, Imagine if one of Apple’s products had a software bug. Do you think Apple’s management would act immediately to fix it? Of course it would. Now ask the same question about California’s K-12 school system, which operates under rules established by the state legislature and governor. Would they act immediately […]

Read more

Legislators Need Courage to Avert School Funding Crisis

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

In 2012 the California Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown asked voters to approve a big sales and income tax increase to better fund schools. Voters approved the measure and per-pupil spending has risen 60 percent since then to $17,160 per student. One would expect schools to be faring well. They aren’t. Despite the spending increase, school […]

Read more

Political “MacGuffins” Ignore Facts

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

Alfred Hitchcock often made use in his films of a “MacGuffin,” which according to Merriam-Webster is “an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.” (emphasis added.) The MacGuffin itself is usually irrelevant to the plot. What matters is […]

Read more

Sacramento’s Silliest Subsidy

David Crane
Lecturer and Research Scholar at Stanford University and President of Govern for California

In December I became eligible for Medicare, the national health insurance program for people aged 65 and older. Medicare is fantastic — and fantastically cheap — insurance. But, believe it or not, if I was a retired California state employee, I would also be entitled to a state-provided health insurance subsidy that this fiscal year will cost the state $2.6 billion — more than […]

Read more