John Mockler, the state's leading authority on education matters (he wrote Prop 98, the school funding guarantee), relays a series of numbers via George Skelton's Los Angeles Times column to demonstrate that, even with budget cuts, California schools are doing better by children.
One very basic stat, as quoted by Skelton:
"Seven years ago, 35% of all California students scored proficient or advanced in reading. This year, 52% did, a gain of 49%. For whites, the number rose from 53% to 69%. For Latinos, the figures doubled from 20% to 40%. For blacks, 22% to 39%."
More data from the column is here. The good news raises a question to which no one knows the answer. Can the schools keep making progress if they keep getting cut?