All true. That's why government has to get out of the business all together. More money, less money, it doesn't matter. Why don't we all admit government has failed and start thinking outside the box?Mattoid, the statistic that you give re: CA being 48th out of 50 relates to the amount of spending per pupil.
The reason CA public schools are struggling is because over the years, the state of CA has taken away more and more funding, and so more and more has been cut: no teacher aids, no music or art unless privately funded by PTAs ans Foundations, not enough yard duty helpers unless parents are willing to volunteer...I could go on and on. With the current CA budget crisis, they are looking to make even more cuts to public education which means potentially: bigger class sizes, am/pm kindergarten, laying off teachers, cutting middle school electives...
The teachers do the best they can, and given what they are paid and the State's lack of emphasis on education, they are doing a damn good job.
BTW, what influence have immigrants (legal and illegal) been on the system? Are there stats on this? You seem to be WAY more informed on this than I am.