Out of the Dark: Bringing California’s Education Data into the 21st Century (2018)

For some students, the path from education to employment is a direct line from high school to college enrollment to a job. But for most students, the path is winding or broken. To significanly increase the number of Californians with postsecondary degrees and to close equity gaps, California needs a clearer understanding of students’ pathways from K–12 to postsecondary education to the workforce—an understanding that is based on data.

California’s public education entities—K–12, the California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California—maintain their own distinct data systems and vary in how they collect and define data. This approach to reporting on student outcomes does not reflect the complex and interconnected journey from education to the workforce. In fact, California is only one of six states that does not have an integrated system for education data.

This brief from California Competes looks at the current policies and barriers to state-level coordinating of education and workforce data and points to the questions that such a system could answer to help improve outcomes for California students. College Futures Foundation provided a grant that supported this research.

Read the full report for detailed recommendations for policymakers as they address concerns about privacy, security, and transparency.