Death and Taxes


I have never read so much about taxes in my life!

From what I understand Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” After reading about California’s tax system I’m in agreement and see the value of having a better understanding of it.

As an educator it is important to gain an understanding the taxes that are best for education. There are many different criteria that economists use to evaluate tax systems. I’m going to evaluate the California tax system using five criteria that is from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Brimley, Verstegen, & Garfield and determine its value for education (2011).

  1. Broad Bases with low rates

This describes the process of collecting taxes from a broad base of citizens in order to fund public   services. The broad base paired with low rates ensures everyone pays a fair share that contributes to the public services.

  1. Economic Neutrality

Neutrality refers to when taxes used to fund public services do not impact the private sectors spending patterns.

  1. Equity

This means that all taxing devices are constructed in a way that everyone fairly pays what they have the ability to pay.

  1. Feasibility

Feasibility means the tax system is efficient and can be carried out uniformly with minimal compliance cost.

  1. Adequacy, Stability and Reliability

This refers to a system that can be consistently counted on to generate revenue by applying taxes to reliable, productive sources in order to adequately fund public services.

Personal Income tax, Sales and Use Tax, Property Tax, and Lottery are the most commonly referred to when discussing education funding. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Personal Income Tax (PIT) is the states single largest revenue source. It is a progressive tax based on a person’s income over the course of a year. In California we have seven tax brackets based on income. The higher the income, the percent taxes increases. This tax system rates high in that it covers all five criteria. Additionally, this progressive tax ensures both equity and adequacy in that the revenue contributes to the general fund. Sales tax is not a equitable as income tax in that only those who choose to spend contribute. However, it is a critical tax for education. Property tax is another example of a tax this is not necessarily equitable. Property tax revenue stays local and therefore funds the local districts. Depending on the demographics of a community the property taxes can vary greatly. This being said, property taxes are very important to the the funding of public education. According to Jeff Camp, of Ed100, about half of all California property taxes are distributed to districts for the purpose of funding K-14 education. The lottery is what I would rank as the lowest. Lottery revenue is only collected from people that choose to participate in it. I can count on one hand the times I’ve participated in the lottery and still have fingers to spare. As someone who clearly believes in the importance and value of education, I see the lottery as a bonus and not something the state should necessarily rely on for funding public education. In fact, the lottery only contributed about two percent of the funding sources for California.


Brimley, V. R., Verstegen, D. A., & Garfield, R. R. (2011). Financing Education in a Climate of Change (11 edition.). Boston: Pearson.


California State Lottery Act, Proposition 37 (1984)


People passed the California State Lottery Act in 1984. This act made it possible for California’s residents to contribute additional money to benefit education without raising taxes or imposing new taxes. This was done by turning over 87 percent or more of the lottery’s total annual revenue back to the people by contributing to public education. This is done with the California State Lottery Education Fund, which is part of the State Treasury. Warrants are distributed from this fund and are paid to:

  • Public K-12 school districts
  • Community colleges
  • UC and CSU schools
  • Hastings College of the Law
  • Department of the Youth Authority
  • California Schools for the Deaf
  • California School for the Blind
  • Diagnostic Schools for Neurologically Handicapped Children
  • State Department of Developmental Services
  • State Department of Mental Health

The amount of money given is determined by the average daily attendance (ADA) and full-time enrollment. According to the law, any agency/school district that accepts this money but create an account solely for the lottery education monies. Anything purchased with this money needs to be clearly identifies as being from the lottery education account.

Education funding from the lottery is not an end all solution to the California’s budget issues with education funding. I think its clear that there’s a problem when at the end of every school year, teachers are laid off only to be hired again within a few months. I was told by a teacher that she was once handed her pink slip, laying her off and then given her rehire notice within hours of each other. When Governor Schwarzenegger was in office he claimed the California Lottery was “an underperforming asset and is not run in the most efficient way” (Cosgrove, 2011). This money does provide funding in an equitable manner but doesn’t yield enough money to provide an adequate, consistent amount.


Cosgrove, M. (2011). Chapter 13: More Money to Players, Brighter Future for Schools. McGeorge Law Review, 42(3), 583–619.


When reflecting on my PKM, I can see that there are tools that I favor over the others.

To begin with, I use feedly for most of my capturing. I have found that my subscriptions lead me several interesting articles everyday. I often find links to other interesting topics through the articles as well. The other tools I intended to use are still helpful, I just use them less frequently than feedly.

I have completely abandoned delicious. I couldn’t get used to it. I use Evernote and zotero for all my curating.

For sharing, I use blogging as my primary tool. I have been using twitter to share some of my blog posts.

Overall, using these tools have helped me find and link with others in the field of education.



The next-generation science standards are said to be “three-dimensional.” What that means is that there are three parts to the standards: the topics that are covered, call disciplinary core ideas, the things that hold all the branches of science together, called the crosscutting concepts, and the methods that scientists and engineers use to go about discovering things and answering questions, called science and engineering practices.

For a list of disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices, or for a more detailed explanation of any of them, visit the sites below.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts

Science and Engineering Practices


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We have set up hashtags for you to tweet. Pick a science topic (any science topic) and brainstorm how you might talk about it at an elementary level (K-6) and then again at a middle and high school level (7-12).

Send two tweets:

  • One for how you would talk about your topic with younger students, using hashtag  #NGSS_K6
  • One for how you talk about the same topic with older students, using hashtag  #NGSS_712