Blog Post | October 13, 2020

Updates and Upcoming Opportunities for California’s Longitudinal Data System

Author: Angela Perry

It’s time for another update about California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System! As you’ll remember from our previous blog, the Workgroup met on September 29 to discuss the governance system for the data system, including proposals put forward by the Homework Team.

Unfortunately, the Workgroup largely declined to incorporate most of the Homework Team’s suggestions, and they did not choose to expand the number of public seats on the governing board. This means that, if the recommendations were to be adopted by the Legislature, the data providers would far outnumber the public members representing the actual users the system is designed to serve.

At the October 9 Homework Team meeting members of the Policy & Analytics and Practice & Operations Advisory Groups discussed the proposed data request process for the data system. Some data providers argued that federal law required that they maintain control of the data, giving less room for research, advocates, and the public to use it or submit requests for it. Although the data providers are essential stakeholders in the data system, it is concerning to think that they might be the sole gatekeepers for the information it contains.

The legal issues are indeed complicated, as we discussed in our paper, What’s Aid Got to Do With It? The Importance of Incorporating Financial Aid Data in California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System. In that paper we also talk about how important it is that the data be publicly available in a central database, that incorporating financial aid data will make it possible to target limited resources in ways that maximize impact and support vulnerable Californians’ ability to attain their higher education goals, and that other states’ systems show it can be done within the confines of federal law.

The data system is a complex undertaking, but the outcome is going to be a huge help in supporting equity and success for the students of California. If our blog posts have left you curious to know more, there’s good news: Group facilitator WestEd is hosting a series of webinars on October 14 and 15 designed to share information about the new educational data system and to gather feedback from stakeholders (that’s you!) on the intended approach. If you’re interested in education data, know or are a student in California, or just want to learn more we encourage you to join! Contact WestEd’s Mansi Master with questions at