Lawmakers aim to give schools access to more long-term data

Lawmakers aim to give schools access to more long-term data

(Calif.) Education leaders aiming to close the achievement gap in postsecondary outcomes would provide more information needed to better assess and adjust their K-12 college and career programs under a bill pending in the Legislature.

SB 1224, authored by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, would require the California Department of Education as well as each of the state’s higher education systems to track student data from Kindergarten through their transition into the workforce.

“California does not have a system that follows a student’s progress from the moment they enter the classroom to when they enter the workforce,” Glazer told the Senate Education Committee at a hearing Wednesday. “These information gaps are a significant weakness in how we approach a lot of these issues of achieving student success, and our future students will be guided to clear pathways if we know what happened in the past with previous students–they’ll be better off if data is available that allows us to point them in the right direction from the beginning.”

As part of the comprehensive redesign of the state’s school accountability system, districts are required to determine how well schools are preparing students for college and careers after they graduate. Through the Local Control Accountability Plan process, school leaders must monitor student progress, with a focus on subgroups most at-risk of running into barriers, and engage with stakeholders to develop strategies and monitor their effectiveness to ensure continuous improvement.

To do that, however, they must have access to reliable data that shows what became of their graduates after high school.

Glazer noted that while the California Community Colleges, California State University and the University of California all track student data, but what they track and how each system defines various measurements differs and isn’t shared across systems as often as it perhaps should be. In fact, since 2010, the CDE and higher education systems have been authorized to enter into interagency agreements to track and shared the sort of data now required under the bill.

Specifically, SB 1224 would establish a statewide longitudinal education and workforce data system to inform public policy and decision making. The bill would require the data system to include data on California students from enrollment in kindergarten to their entry into the workforce.

While the bill doesn’t specify which system will house the data–and there isn’t currently a state-level body for higher education that oversees cross-system issues, or that is authorized to utilize cross-system data–but Glazer told lawmakers he would work with stakeholders to address those issues as the bill moves forward.

Other bills that passed out of the Senate Education Committee Wednesday include:

  • SB 837, which would expand eligibility for transitional kindergarten to all four-year olds;
  • SB 1456, which would establish the Sexual Abuse-Free Education Act in order to keep teachers and other school staff who have been found to have molested or sexually harassed students from resign from one school district and simply move on to another without proper reporting; and
  • SB 1243, which would create a career training model that calls for the establishment of partnerships between K-12 schools, colleges and industry professionals that provide students with mentorship opportunities and access to college level technology courses and college degree credits while in high school.