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This week, the Council’s efforts to reinstate funds for a statewide student data system received another boost when the Assembly and Senate voted to reinstate the program.  As we noted two weeks ago, the first draft of the “May Revise” budget suspended funds and development of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and its sister program for tracking longitudinal teacher data (CALTIDES).  The Bay Area Council opposes the suspension of these critical, federally-funded programs, as does the state’s well-respected, non-partisan Legislative Analyst.

Additionally, the Council has uncovered that California risks losing $1.6 billion in Title I federal education funds if the state cuts the data system as part of the budget.

With this added support and momentum, the Council will now shift to making the point to everyone in Sacramento that will listen, that scrapping the system is too great a risk for California’s students and the state’s balance sheet.  Not only does California stand to lose billions of dollars in education formula funds, but the State also gave the Feds the assurance that they would build a comprehensive student data system as a condition of taking $4.9 billion in federal stimulus.  It would be hard for the federal government to take the money back, because it’s already been spent, but the elimination of CALPADS may put at risk California’s ability to compete for many tens of millions, or even billions of dollars of federal grant opportunities going forward.

Above all, we are still baffled by the decision to eliminate the student data system because the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Education have made it very clear that any state application for a number of federal funding opportunities, including Race to the Top – are and will continue to be heavily dependent on the development of a comprehensive statewide student data system.

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