When California’s newly elected governor Gavin Newsom came to office, he brought with him a plan to introduce the “Cradle-to-Career system. The latter being a program designed to expand and integrate universal preschool and high quality child care with existing educational programs by investing in new and strategic infrastructure.
Branded as a collectivist rather than a leftist, the Democratic governor’s “Cradle to Career” System is part of his “California Promise” of alleviating the effects of the 1978 Referendum that approved property tax cuts. Since the tax cuts meant substantial reductions in annual government income, the reduction was then compensated by the whitling down of the state’s budget for public education. .
As a result, through the 40 years of slashed budgets for public education, public schools were met with ballooning class sizes, while curriculums for arts, driver education and afterschool programs were taken out as public education expenses.
Drawing inspiration and information from Stanford University’s Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), Governor Newsom obtained a clear picture of how children in California are behind in terms of knowledge, even before they enroll in kindergarten. Although California students show ability to learn at rates equal or better when compared to the national average, the wide gap in terms of achievement between students coming from low-income amd middle-income families, was given focus.
Significance of Governor Newsom’s “Cradle to Career” System
Support from California’s legislature is evidenced by the passing of the 2019-2020 State Budget for education, which took into consideration the $10 million budget proposed by the Newsom administration. .
The CA legislature passed a lengthy bill to support of the “Cradle to Career Data System” that was included in the state’s 2019-2020 budget for education expenses. The bill outlines the steps to be undertaken over the next 18 months. The Act also delineates the features and contents of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and of how it will be regulated, who will be allowed access to the data contained therein and how security and privacy measures will be maintained.
The SLDS connects all California student records across existing data systems, to the California Department of Education and to the systemwide offices of the California State University, University of California and California Community Colleges, as well as to the state workforce data. Data will be accessible to different audiences by way of reports and analysis tools for use in research aimed at creating education policies and practices that aim to achieve a more equitable and better results for all students.
The significance of the SLDS is that it will give the Department of Education and other interested audiences, information on which schools produce high school graduates who successfully advance to college, and who among them succeeded in earning post secondary certificates and college degrees.
SDLS reports will also provide information about the workforce to which high school graduates who do not directly enroll in college, become affiliated. Data will also give insights on a per major and per degree/credential basis the level of success achieved by graduates of California’s post secondary institution, in the workforce entered.
Since California is a melting pot of nearly all types of race and ethnicity, all information furnished by the SLDS, will provide similar insights on outcomes based on students’ ethnicity, race, level of income, state region, and other important factors.