Once again, the ignorance of California voters undercuts the findings of a poll. In this week's Public Policy Institute of California survey that took a deep look at the budget and schools, only 23 percent of Californians knew that the state's public schools are below average in test scores and per-pupil spending among U.S. states.
This is a fact that has been repeated so many times in the media that it's hard to imagine how one wouldn't know it. But this is the same voting public that, according to a recent poll from the LA Times and USC, didn't know that the state budget had been cut in recent years.
The poll also showed strong support for local control of education. Which sounds good, until you remember that the public supports Prop 13 and other measures that have centralized control over school spending in Sacramento.
California isn't just up against a budget deficit. It's facing a huge deficit in basic public knowledge of how the state works. It's not clear that this is surmountable, without a change in our civic culture.