When it comes to setting education funding policies for California, preconceived notions have long held at least as much sway as actual reality.
Thus it was that when the state Supreme Court in 1971 issued its landmark Serrano v. Priest decision demanding that per-student school funding be equalized throughout the state, the presumption was that districts like Los Angeles, Oakland, San Bernardino and others serving large numbers of the urban poor would benefit most.
They did not. Rural districts benefit most from Serrano’s demand that state funding (before “categorical” money) allow differences between districts of no more than $350 per year per student.
Now another assumption guides the proposal of Gov. Jerry Brown to change funding again, giving extra money to school districts that have the most students who get government-subsidized lunches or are English learners or foster children...