Photo: Daniel Thigpen

Kim Minugh, an English teacher at Encina Preparatory High School in Sacramento, touches the grassroots with her yearbook students from afar.

Photo: Daniel Thigpen

Kim Minugh, an English teacher at Encina Preparatory High School in Sacramento, touches the grassroots with her yearbook students from afar.

Govin Newson puts an end to speculation about how much California will invest in building an ambitious cradle-to-career data system and proposes spending $ 15 million on the next phase of creating a data system that sheds light on effective strategies exist to contribute to student success and to provide useful tools for students trying to plan their educational careers.

The proposal follows a year in which over a dozen government agencies, many data experts, and representatives from all major educational sectors in California developed a blueprint for the data system. Many researchers and advocates have been calling for such a data system for years, and it’s a central element of the promise Newsom made when he ran for governor to create a cradle-to-career education system in California.

The amount Newsom is proposing is in line with what was recommended in a report it received last month from the working group overseeing the project.

Thomas Vu, vice president of policy for the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, which represents private not-for-profit colleges, welcomed the state’s investment, on top of the $ 10 million government fund already invested in the planning process. Vu, a member of the working group, said $ 15 million would accompany the state in the first year of its implementation, but “it will not be enough to see it for the full year of implementation as it will take 4 to 5 years before the year The whole is concretized. “

In fact, according to Vu, Newsom “asked the working group to think big, and California to be the leading state in that regard.”

Cradle-to-Career Data System, Legislative Report, December 2020

K-12 Budget Summary, California Department of the Treasury, Jan. 10, 2020 (see p. 74).

In the first year, starting next July, the planners will define an administrative structure for the data system, including a website and communication materials. Several state agencies and educational institutions, including the California Department of Education, community colleges, the University of California, California State University, the Employment Development Department, and the California Health and Human Services Agency, will “tag and cloud” data draw a data Warehouse and build it up.

By the end of the first year, data from K-12 and public post-secondary institutions will be linked and operational, Vu said, but it will be several years before other data points are added to the system, including the private not-for-profit colleges that his organization makes represents. Eventually the system will collect data on 160 different variables with over 400 million records.

Most states already have a data system in place to track student progress across all educational systems. However, the summary of Newsom’s proposed budget assumes that the California data system “will lead the nation in several ways.”

“Since we’re a late adopter, we’re both trying to catch up and we can jump over others,” said Patrick Perry, a member of the group responsible for policy, research and data for the California Student Aid Commission. “The hope is to create live tools and apps that students and parents can use to navigate and ease the transition between educational systems.”

According to the summary of the Newsom proposal, the California data system will be distinctive because it contains design principles that enable it to be “future-proof” so as not to be technically obsolete. It will also reflect a “whole child” approach by incorporating education and workforce data along with data from health and social services.

Newsom is also proposing to spend an additional $ 3.8 million to continue work on, a website dedicated to providing information to help students get information about what they need to get into college, financial assistance and career counseling and student support once enrolled. It also contains a number of resources for parents and teachers. The website will finally be integrated into the “Cradle-to-Career” data system.

John Rogers, a professor of education at UCLA, said the state’s investment in the data system will be useful as long as the end result is more than just a data archive but “creates forms of public engagement that ensure the data is used to improve public understanding and participation. “

In fact, the new data system is said to be useful not only to researchers and government policy analysts, but also to parents and students.

“The benefit of being one of the last remaining states is to see what other states have done and how we can do more than them,” Vu said. “We have the technology to do more, on a larger scale, at a lower cost. The goal is to make this robust enough to help students and families plan their educational futures. “

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