LAO Reports

Education Mandates: Overhauling a Broken System

February 2, 2010

 


Currently, the state requires K-12 and community college districts to perform hundreds of mandated activities, the majority of which provide little benefit to students or teachers. Since the state does not pay for K-14 mandates on a regular basis, the result is billions in outstanding costs the state must eventually pay. In this report, we recommend comprehensively reforming K–14 mandates. If a mandate serves a purpose fundamental to the education system, such as protecting student health or providing essential assessment and oversight data, it should be funded. If not, the mandate should be eliminated. Taken as a whole, our reform package would relieve school districts and community colleges of performing hundreds of activities that provide little value to students while providing them with adequate and timely compensation for the activities still required of them. In addition, comprehensively reforming mandates would reduce the state’s annual obligations by more than $350 million—funds that could be saved or allocated to districts for higher priorities.