Walter Russell Mead lays it out in very simple terms:
Let there be no mistake: when you produce so many criminals that you can’t afford to lock them up, you are a failed state. Virtually every important civil institution in society has to fail to get you to this point. Your homes and houses of worship are failing to build law abiding citizens, much less responsible and informed voters. Your schools aren’t educating enough of your kids to make an honest living. Your taxes and policies are so bad that you are driving thousands of businesses away. Your management systems must be fouled and confused to the max for you to create something so dysfunctional, so wildly beyond your means, that the Supreme Court of the United States (wisely or foolishly is another question) starts to micromanage your jails. [emphasis added]
Indeed. But they spend beaucoup money on education, right?
California’s school expenditures bear no relationship to results. In 2008, although California spent more on public schools than any other state in the country and more per pupil than many, its students ranked 49th (out of 51, including DC) in reading achievement, 48th in math. States like South Dakota spent much less per pupil and got much better results.
Yeah, well, but everybody knows that South Dakota is . . . . just racist or something. It must be. Otherwise, California would be so far ahead of us that we’d never catch up–not in a month of free-range Sundays.
The author’s solution to the problem that is California? Break it up and, to an extent, start over. Go, read and learn.