The Cradle-to-Career Data System Governance Options, Explained


In designing California’s Cradle-to-Career Data system, policymakers and numerous stakeholders have worked to make it a comprehensive and equity-driven vehicle for advancing change, but important questions around leadership have been raised. These are critical discussions for policymakers to have, and our brief provides a useful analysis and background to support their engagement and decision-making.

In this brief, California Competes explores the current proposals on the table and provides guidance on their strengths and weaknesses, as well as context for why this issue is so important in California. This is a system that will impact many stakeholders: students, teachers, administrators, workforce leaders, employers, taxpayers, and more. The governing board’s decisions will have lasting and far-reaching implications for education and employment in our state.

Since California is one of the last states in the nation to develop a statewide longitudinal data system, there’s much to gain from exploring how other states have designed and operationalized their systems. Still, there are aspects unique to California’s system that require careful consideration.

key findings
  1. As policymakers home in on the technical aspects of the California Cradle-to-Career Data System, they must put a finer point on who will oversee the system. Governance is critical.
  2. Cradle-to-Career Data System governance is so important because California’s higher education system does not have a coordinating entity, as most other states do. This data system governing board will make decisions with lasting impacts on education and employment.
  3. The data system’s governance should balance data provider interests with public interests and be specific around leadership.
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