Press Release

Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, today issued the following statement in response to recent developments in California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System:

“To make the right decisions about their education and their future, families, and students need information that is easy to access, understand, and use. And educators and policymakers need reliable information to uncover and eliminate longstanding, systemic barriers to educational justice for low-income students and students of color. California should lead the nation in educational equity, but on this measure, we’re lagging as one of only five states without a comprehensive data system. We applaud Governor Newsom and his team for following through on the original commitment to righting the ship, and we commend the Governor’s team, in collaboration with WestEd, for thoughtful appointments to the workgroup and advisory groups that will shape California’s cradle-to-career data system. This is an important step in the process. Now it is up to the Governor, his staff, and the workgroup to engage and collaborate with communities and ensure the data system is designed to promote educational justice.”

Background: 5 Principles to Ensure Educational Equity

The Education Trust–West has laid out five core principles that the data system must meet to promote educational justice:

  1. Engage students and families: The governor’s office is creating advisory groups to support the development of the data system We hope the advisory groups will include community and family input. Those advisory groups should be facilitated thoughtfully, with a focus on developing actionable recommendations. And they should be taken seriously by the workgroup that is making decisions about the system and by other state leaders.
  2. Count all students and break out data by groups of students: To uncover inequity, we need to know how different groups of students are doing. The system should count every student—including students in alternative schools, justice-involved students, and dual-enrolled students. And it should be detailed enough to understand the challenges facing a variety of underserved groups—including, for example, different groups of Asian American and Pacific Islander students.
  3. Protect student privacy, especially for our most vulnerable students: The system should be secure and protect student privacy for all students. It should also explicitly protect undocumented students and families.
  4. Produce tools that are easy for parents, students, and communities to understand: Tools and resources—such as public workshops—should be developed at the same time and with the same priority as the system itself. The tools that give families access to student information should also be user-tested, especially by low-income communities and communities of color, to make sure they’re providing easy access to useful information.
  5.  Inform systemic change for educational justice: From the data that are available, the depth of educational inequities in California are clear. Year after year, we see persistent gaps in student outcomes for low-income students and students of color. These gaps don’t stem from lack of ability, but from systems designed to perpetuate injustice. The data system should be designed to help dismantle these systems.