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Education Leaders Discuss Big Visions to Connect K-12 and Higher Education


by Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, Education Insights Center
(Cross-posted on the Californiana Blog, a project of the Center for California Studies)

Three state education leaders—from K-12 education, the California Community Colleges, and California Competes, a nonprofit organization—welcomed a new cohort of 20 Fellows to the California Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) during its first three-day seminar of the year. Each of the speakers shared their thoughts on California's need to improve its ability to set and assess statewide goals across K-12 schools, postsecondary education, and workforce training programs. One obstacle stands in the way, California has no statewide coordinating body or data structure that spans its K-12 and higher education systems. 

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Working to Close Equity Gaps in the CSU: Interviews with Dr. William Franklin and Dr. J. Luke Wood

By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, EdInsights

This is the first in a series of blogs to share information about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU. Thad Nodine separately interviewed two leaders in higher education who have dedicated their professional lives to understanding and addressing equity issues. Dr. William Franklin is vice president for student affairs at CSU Dominguez Hills. He currently spearheads a mentoring program for African American and Latino young men called the Male Success Alliance. Dr. J. Luke Wood is associate vice president for faculty diversity and inclusion and distinguished professor of education at San Diego State University. He also serves as co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab.

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Should California develop a statewide student data system?


by Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, Education Insights Center
(Cross-posted on the Californiana Blog, a project of the Center for California Studies)

California’s system for reporting student data is, well, not really a system at all. Should California develop a statewide education data system? What purposes would such a system serve? What kinds of data would be tracked and shared, and with whom? These are some of the questions that the education professionals in the California Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) posed to each other and education leaders, in the final gathering of the 2017-18 Fellows. 

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Overcoming "Program-itis:" A Systemic Approach to Student Success

by Cynthia Schrager, Senior Fellow, EdInsights

What makes efforts to improve student success rates at large public universities so challenging, particularly in light of committed efforts by faculty, staff, and administrators to improve student learning, progression, and completion?

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Supporting Transfer Students' Education Goals: The Evolution of Cal Poly Pomona's Transfer Program

by Norma Leon, Educational Assessment & Transition Coordinator, and Dr. Loren Márquez, PolyTransfer Coordinator, at Cal Poly Pomona

Transfer students at Cal Poly Pomona were historically perceived as needing less attention because they had successfully navigated the first years of their college journey. Over the past few years, CPP began to question this mindset and confront the unique challenges facing transfer students. In this blog, Norma Leon and Lorena Márquez trace the rise of the PolyTransfer Program and the efforts to foster a transfer-receptive culture on campus.

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Testimony before the Senate Education Committee, April 11, 2018

by Colleen Moore, Assistant Director, Education Insights Center

Colleen Moore, Assistant Director, Education Insights Center testified before the Senate Education Committee on April 11, 2018 as the committee debated SB 1224 (Glazer) Statewide longitudinal education and workforce data system. These are her prepared remarks.

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Bottom-up Practice Reform Meets Top-down State Policy Change


by Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, Education Insights Center
(Cross-posted on the Californiana Blog, a project of the Center for California Studies)

What a difference a year can make. In February 2017, Katie Hern, co-founder of the California Acceleration Project, spoke with the inaugural cohort of the California Education Policy Fellows Program about the challenges of reforming developmental education statewide from the bottom up—after working campus by campus for almost a decade to spur changes in a system of 114 California Community Colleges. When she met with the second cohort of EPFP Fellows a year later, the policy landscape had completely changed.

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Campus-wide Roles to Improve Student Success


by Elizabeth Boretz, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, CSU Fullerton

Many CSU campuses over the past few years have created senior-level campus-wide positions charged with improving student success. The trend is not unique to the CSU or to California, and the number of online job postings for senior-level positions focusing on “student success” has more than tripled nationally since 2010. No matter which university you call home, refocusing campus structures and culture around student learning and success can be challenging. In the following story, Elizabeth Boretz shares some of her experiences helping CSU Fullerton strengthen its campus-wide approach to student success. 

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A Two-Way Street: Building a Culture of Data Use by Engaging with Faculty and Staff


by Adam Petersen, Student Success Analyst, Office of Undergraduate Studies, CSU San Marcos & Cameron Gage Stevenson, Assistant Director, Institutional Planning & Analysis, CSU San Marcos

In May 2017, the CSU Student Success Network convened, and Fresno State hosted, a one-day meeting focused on data use. The convening drew participation from teams of faculty and staff from ten CSU campuses. Afterwards, the team from CSU San Marcos (CSUSM) decided to create a data fellows program to improve their campus’ capacity to use data in decision-making. This is their story of why—and how—they created their program.

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Understanding Professional Learning Opportunities in California’s Community Colleges: Emerging Themes from Institutional Effectiveness Evaluations

February 2018
by Su Jin Jez, Faculty Fellow, Education Insights Center, California State University, Sacramento

EdInsights has been evaluating the sweeping changes in the California Community Colleges for the past five years. “That’s an exciting lens for us,” says EdInsights Faculty Fellow Su Jin Jez, “helping community college educators examine the effects of their work and ways to refine it, while also contributing to the state’s own understanding of its investments.” In our newest blog post, Dr. Jez shares key themes that surfaced from these evaluations and signals ways that other capacity-building efforts in higher education can improve student learning, engagement, progression, and completion.

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Opening "Windows of Opportunity" in Education


by Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, Education Insights Center
(Cross-posted on the Californiana Blog, a project of the Center for California Studies)

A new cohort of California Education Policy Fellows met recently at Asilomar for three days of conversations about challenges facing education. The 20 Fellows, all education policy professionals in California, heard from luminaries in the field who shared their wisdom about the conditions necessary for effective policy change and new ideas about competition in the marketplace for ideas. 

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Finding a Balance between Local Control and State Guidance

November 2017
by Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, EdInsights & Laura Jaeger, K-16 Research and Policy Director, EdInsights

When it comes to implementing College and Career Readiness (CCR), our research over the past two years tells us that educators do not want to reinvent the wheel. They want local control of key decisions, but they also want guidance from the state about which models to consider. In this blog, EdInsights Executive Director, Andrea Venezia, and K-16 Research and Policy Director, Laura Jaeger, consider the challenges that Educators are facing as they try to find a balance between local control, on the one hand, and state guidance on the other, so as to support equitable opportunities for all students statewide.

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Evaluations for Better Education Policy and Practice: What Do Students Say?

October 2017
by Connie Tan, Evaluations Director, EdInsights

Student voices can provide powerful insights to inform education improvement, and yet too often evaluations of education programs overlook students’ perspectives and experiences. In this blog Connie Tan, Evaluations Director at EdInsights, shares her observations from four years of evaluating a range of education programs. Rather than craving a college experience full of academic and career exploration, students are hungry for guidance in identifying a suite of courses that match their interest, followed by supports and structure that puts them on a path to graduate or transfer. These lessons can serve as an impetus for action and improvement at the campus and system levels.

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California's "System" for Student Data Reporting Is A-maze-ing

September 2017
by Colleen Moore, Assistant Director, EdInsights

California collects expansive data about students in its systems of public education, but the data are collected and maintained in systems that are not connected, were designed for different purposes, are subject to different regulations, and often use different data definitions. Colleen Moore, assistant director at EdInsights and author of California’s Maze of Student Information: Education Data Systems Leave Critical Questions Unanswered, writes about how these disjointed systems contribute to fragmented education programming and policy making.

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A New Core Commitment in the Community Colleges: Partnering Across Systems

August 2017
by Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, EdInsights

In the new vision statement of the California Community Colleges—adopted last month by the Board of Governors—Chancellor Eloy Oakley committed to lead the work of partnering across systems. In this blog, Andrea Venezia, Executive Director of EdInsights, reflects on the importance of this commitment and suggests that it could signal new ways in which California's education system can work together—and that students could reap the benefits.

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Using Networks to Build Cross-System Capacity in California Education

July 2017
by Jodi Lewis, Communications Director, EdInsights

California's K-12 and postsecondary systems have little connection through governance, finance, or data systems, and few incentives to develop, track, or meet cross-system goals for students. There's a powerful role for networks to bridge gaps in education, which is why EdInsights launched two this year: California EPFP and the CSU Student Success Network.

In this blog, Jodi Lewis, co-director of California EPFP, reflects on the value of network-based approaches to build capacity to improve student success.

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A Season of Change in California Education

June 2017
by Andrea Venezia, Executive Director, EdInsights

It’s a remarkable springtime in California, and not just because of the historically vibrant blooms. A flurry of new education policies are being implemented, and the public schools, the California Community Colleges, and the California State University (CSU) are undergoing large-scale shifts. What’s exciting about these changes is their focus on student learning and success and their potential to advance educational attainment and reduce opportunity gaps among Californians.

In this blog—the first in monthly series—Andrea Venezia highlights a few reforms that we think warrant attention, challenges that might lie ahead, and how EdInsights is addressing these and other issues to help improve student learning, engagement, progression, and completion. 

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