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Why Does California Need the Cradle-To-Career Data System?
By securely connecting data that schools, colleges, social service agencies, financial aid providers, and employers already collect, it will be easier to:
- Identify the types of supports that help more students learn, stay in school, prepare for college, graduate, and secure a job
- Provide information that teachers, advisors, parents, and students can use to identify opportunities and make decisions
- Help agencies plan for and improve educational, workforce, and social services programs
- Support research on improving policies from birth through career
To learn more, download a two-page summary of the value of the Cradle-to-Career Data System for Californians, view testimonials about the tools for students and high schools, and see the research information that the data system provides. Also, refer to the 2019 Legislation documentation.
How Is the Data System Structured?
The Cradle-to-Career Data System includes three core components:
- Tools for policy makers, researchers, educators, and advocates
including dashboards, a query builder, summaries of key student and employment outcomes, and a research library. These tools would be accessible to the general public and provide actionable information on education, social services, employment patterns, and equity gaps in opportunities and outcomes. Researchers could request access to restricted data for authorized purposes.
- Tools for students and the educators who support them
including college and career planning, college-eligibility monitoring, electronic transcripts, college applications, and access to financial aid and other services such as medical care and food.
- Tools to support data use
including outreach, professional development, and clear feedback loops with intended users, designed to build the capacity of policymakers, educators, parents, and students to make better-informed decisions.
Types of Information: Initially, the data system will link existing K–12, public postsecondary, employment, financial aid, and teacher credentialing data. Within the first five years of development, additional information on early learning and care, private and independent colleges, workforce training programs, and social services will be added.
Privacy: The data system is designed with privacy and security as the top priority. Detailed technical requirements have been developed that align with the most stringent federal and state policies. Individuals will be able to opt out of the linked data set.
Governance: The data system is governed by a board made up of representatives of data providers and stakeholders who use the information. The governing board sets the strategic direction and ensures that the system is supporting the state’s goals. Two advisory boards support the governing board, one to ensure that the system includes actionable data and the other to ensure that the intended audiences are aware of the data system and know how to use the information it provides.
Management: The data system is being built by a new office within the Government Operations Agency (GovOps). GovOps serves as a neutral entity, focused on providing reliable information to support decision-making and advance equitable outcomes.
Leveraging Existing Investments: Rather than design the data system from scratch, broadly available technology tools are being used to store, link, and display data. Tools for students and educators are being provided by expanding access to existing state-funded projects like CaliforniaColleges.edu and eTranscript California.
How Were the Recommendations Developed?
Over the course of 2020 and 2021, at over 100 public meetings, more than 200 people from 15 state agencies and many educational institutions, research and policy organizations, and community groups worked together to design a blueprint for the California Cradle-to-Career Data System.
The extensive planning process, which was facilitated by WestEd, included multiple subcommittees that considered various aspects of data system development including, technology and security, legal frameworks, data definitions, and community engagement. The Cradle-to-Career Workgroup, composed of entities that will provide information and state agencies with expertise in data, considered the findings of these subcommittees and advice from two advisory groups made up of community members.
The Cradle-to-Career Workgroup proposed a series of recommendations, which are detailed in reports delivered to the legislature in December 2020 and April 2021. A final report was completed in June 2021.