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Looking Forward in 2022: A Message from Our Executive Director

As the new Executive Director of EdInsights, I wanted to share some of my ideas and thoughts about where we are today and where we would like to go in 2022. EdInsights remains optimistic that together we can support students by identifying equity gaps and recommending improvements to the transitions that our students are experiencing as they move through our institutions.

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Dr. LeAnn Fong-Batkin Appointed as New Executive Director!

The Education Insights Center (EdInsights) is pleased to announce Dr. LeAnn Fong-Batkin as our new Executive Director. Dr. Fong-Batkin brings over two decades of K-12 and higher education policy experience from WestEd, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, Sacramento State, the California Department of Education, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and the California State Auditor. She has committed her career to social justice and equity for under-represented students.

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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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Our Commitment to Action for Racial Justice

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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