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Governance Decisions are Critical to the Success of California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System

California’s planning process for a “Cradle-to-Career” data system has reached a critical juncture, as the Workgroup charged with making recommendations about the system considers governance options and the selection of an entity to manage it. Past efforts to develop a statewide data system in California were stymied over concerns about the make-up, roles, and responsibilities of the entity selected to manage the system, and how data collected by that entity would be used and by whom.

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We Are Committed to Action

EdInsights stands in solidarity with demands for racial justice, and commits to actions to identify and dismantle white supremacy, structural racism, and oppression in public education. We will work to ensure that our education systems deeply value and provide meaningful learning opportunities for Black students. We take the President of Sacramento State’s charge to hold his colleagues responsible for action very seriously.

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The Importance of Funding Career Education in This Time of Crisis

As someone who has studied career education (CE) in the California Community Colleges (CCC) for many years, I am concerned about the potential impact of proposed cuts to the CCC budget for 2020-21 on the students served by CE programs, and on the state’s workforce—especially at a time when some job sectors might collapse and people will need new skills. The CE mission of the CCC is critical to ensuring that Californians have opportunities to prepare for the many “middle skill” jobs the state’s employers have struggled to fill in recent years—jobs requiring more than a high school education but less than a bachelor’s degree (e.g., technicians in engineering, healthcare, advanced manufacturing).

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Ensuring Our Policies Support Students, Communities, and Regional Economies

Among the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis is the expected impact on California’s state budget, as revenues decline with shrinking financial markets and expenditures increase to cover unemployment claims and other vital government services. As prior economic contractions have demonstrated, this situation portends a challenging time ahead for higher education. The Great Recession brought significant cuts in state appropriations to the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC). The UC and CSU replaced some of their lost revenue by raising tuition substantially, while the CCC cut class sections dramatically, making higher education both less affordable and less accessible at a time that the workforce skills gap was growing. State funding for higher education in California took a decade to fully recover.

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Data Use Drives Quality

The California Cradle-to-Career Data System Act created a process for developing a statewide longitudinal data system. As the design and planning move forward, EdInsights will weigh in now and then with thoughts about how the state can make progress with the data system. In this post, Colleen Moore shares findings from her recent policy brief on data quality considerations, and explains how creating a P20W data system could actually help improve the quality of the data the state already collects.

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From Incarceration to College Graduation: How Colleges Can Support the Education Goals of Formerly Incarcerated Students

California has made significant strides in improving access to higher education for incarcerated individuals. Now is the time for colleges to examine and expand their efforts to provide services for this population. In this post, Breaunna Alexander provides examples of on-campus re-entry and support programs for this population and she presents resources and strategies to help those looking for more information about examining, evaluating, and reshaping their own practices to better serve formerly incarcerated students.

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Weighing Tradeoffs Requires Data

The California Cradle-to-Career Data System Act created a process for developing the state’s first statewide longitudinal data system. As the design and planning move forward, EdInsights will weigh in now and then with thoughts about how the state can make progress with the data system. In this post, Colleen Moore calls attention to ways a data system can help policymakers, education officials, and advocates make informed policy choices, and to the importance of ensuring adequate research capacity to use a statewide data system to address important policy questions.

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Laying a Foundation for Equity Work on Campus: A Profile of the Chico State Team at the CSU Network’s Middle Leadership Academy

When a team from Chico State arrived at the CSU Network’s Middle Leadership Academy in 2018-19, the team members had ambitious plans but no specific project to address equity issues on campus. At the Academy, they examined student data and began to focus on correlations between equity gaps in graduation rates and DFW rates during students’ first two years. They found that historically underserved students, compared with other students, were more likely to get a DFW, even accounting for incoming high-school grade point averages. Back on campus, they decided that their first step was to lay a broad foundation to support equity work.

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Mathematics and Equity: The Transformation of a “Middle Leader” in the CSU

Before David Zeigler became chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Sacramento State University, he had not considered how remedial education policies might be an impediment to student success.

“We had a very draconian system,” Zeigler said. “It was not friendly at all to students. The tragic story is that it was our system and so I supported it.”

Zeigler’s “enlightenment,” as he calls it, came about through a series of professional development experiences, research, and conversations with peers, including participating in the Middle Leadership Academy. As chair, he began to attend cross-disciplinary gatherings associated with teaching and learning generally. That’s when he began to shepherd the department through a major transformation in how it supports incoming students in math.

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How Do CSU Advising Efforts Compare to National Approaches?

Earlier this year, the CSU Student Success Network released the second report from Destination Integration, its series on academic advising. The studies explore the perspectives of students, advisors, and administrators on advising and advising reform on CSU campuses. In reviewing the authors’ findings, I am intrigued by how closely they mirror the conclusions of national studies of advising and student services, which means that the CSU is not alone in the challenges it faces in seeking to make advising a more integrated experience for students. And if the challenges are not unique to the CSU, then neither are the solutions.

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Classes, Cradles and Careers: How Data Can Address Equity Gaps for Parenting Students

More than one fifth of undergraduate college students in the U.S. are parents—or about 3.7 million students. While there is fairly robust national data on this population, in California, we know very little about our “parenting students,” whether at the state, system, or institutional levels. As California embarks on designing a new statewide Cradle to Career education data system, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to build in data that will aid in understanding the unique experiences and needs of these students.

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Increasing Community College Workforce Diversity: Evidence from Evaluating Professional Learning Opportunities

College enrollments in California have become more diverse as the number and share of students from underrepresented backgrounds attending college continues to increase, particularly in broad access postsecondary institutions.

EdInsights research associate Jaquelyn Caro-Sena explains that California Community Colleges have a unique opportunity to increase the diversity of their workforce over the next several years, as large numbers of personnel are reaching retirement age. Based on her findings from evaluating the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI), she asks, as this window opens, how can colleges reflect on and adjust their recruiting, hiring and retention practices, so that the diversity of their faculty, staff, and administrators better reflects the diversity of their students?

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Making Progress toward a Statewide Education Data System

The California Cradle-to-Career Data System Act created a process for developing the state’s first statewide longitudinal data system. As the design and planning move forward, we will weigh in now and then with thoughts about how the state can make progress with the data system. In this post, Colleen Moore points to some of the critical questions we cannot answer until we have the data system in place and why researchers, policy analysts, policymakers and other stakeholders have long pushed for this critical tool.

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How Learning across Systems Supports Middle Leadership

A new report by the Research and Planning (RP) Group of the California Community Colleges, struck a chord for several reasons. Not only was RP one of the inspirations for creating the CSU Student Success Network, the CSU Network’s Middle Leadership Academy is modeled after Leading from the Middle in the community colleges, and many community college colleagues generously helped get the CSU Network off the ground.

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What CSU Students Say about Advising

As large public universities, such as those within the California State University system, focus on increasing student success, efforts to improve student advising are front and center. As institutions endeavor to become more student-centered, it’s worth asking: do students perceive advising challenges and opportunities the same way as institutional leaders do?

This post draws from our two applied research studies on academic advising: Destination Integration.

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California’s Education Systems: A Sum of the Moving Parts

When we started the California Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) in 2016, in partnership with the Center for California Studies, we knew that we needed a resource that laid out the major K-12 and postsecondary education issues in California all in one place. We could not find one document that provided all the background information we think systems thinkers need to have in public education in California. So we created our own.

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Using an Equity Lens to Inform Practice: Learning from the Middle Leadership Academy

This is the third in a series of blogs about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU. Thad Nodine describes the equity work underway on CSU campuses, based on their participation in the Middle Leadership Academy, a professional learning program that is supporting teams of CSU faculty, staff, and administrators in addressing equity-based opportunity and outcomes gaps on their campus. The blog also describes the Academy’s approach in creating a space where campus teams in the CSU come together to learn from colleagues and other campuses.

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Why the Simplest Cradle-to-Career Data System May be the Best Place to Start

A long awaited window is opening. Governor Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposes $10 million to develop a longitudinal education data system that would “better track student outcomes and increase the alignment of our educational system to the state’s workforce needs.” But the people who will decide whether and how to create a statewide data system face some critical choices—namely, what purpose would such a data system serve? Who would use it and which questions would it be designed to answer?

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Strengthening Education Partnerships, Data Sharing, and Equity-based Inquiry in the CSU

In the second in a series of blogs about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU, Thad Nodine reports on the CSU Network’s fall Convening focusing on regional education partnerships and the use of data sharing to support equity-based inquiry and outcomes on CSU campuses. Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen and Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar spoke to the gathered teams about the role of partnerships in achieving reforms and improving outcomes at their institutions. Then the teams got to work, discussing how to use the external partnerships to increase equitable student outcomes at their respective universities.

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