California's Golden Opportunity
Budget increase comes at a critical time
Under the state budget revision released last week, California community colleges received a $600 million increase, which comes on top of a $1 billion increase proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in January.

The new money will help the state's community colleges recover from deep budget slashing during the recession, but the investment also reflects the role community colleges can play in the state's economic recovery by providing students opportunity for advancement and meeting employer demands for skilled workers. It's an opportunity the state's 112-campus community college system must not squander.


Statewide, less than half of 2.1 million students are finishing community college within six years. The outcomes are even lowerfor the state's fastest growing populations. That rate remains largely unchanged over the last two years.

 We couldn't agree more with the Campaign for College Opportunity report's appeal: "When one in two children under the age of 18 in California is Latino, one conclusion is clear: the future of our economy and the state will rise or fall on the educational success of Latinos. To secure the economic future of California, we need to significantly increase the number of Latino students who are prepared for, enroll in and graduate from college."

IEBC has worked with a number of community colleges in the Golden State to help them develop and now implement "student equity plans," required under the "Student Success Initiative." The plans map out areas to measure whether and how underserved populations are making progress in earning degrees. Each college develops specific benchmarks and actions to address disparities that are discovered.

 To ensure success, colleges must go beyond mere compliance to dig into their performance data and discover patterns that signal areas where students need more help. Then the key is matching the right programs and interventions that help keep students on track to earning a degree.

If we are to accomplish ambitious completion goals, California community colleges must focus, differentiate and deliver. One-size-fits-all interventions do not work in every setting or with every group of students. While California campuses share similar students and missions, each has unique barriers and opportunities to succeed which are revealed through a hard look at each institution's data and the story it tells about students' needs.


Helping California make good on the promise of the "Student Success Initiative" is a top IEBC priority. Let's share ideas. If you're on Twitter, use the #CACCGoldenOpp hashtag. 


Improving Response Time in Education

 What if the solution to what ails education was a simple matter of timing? We know the fastest response times win the day in health care, retail, and other sectors, so why not education? The answer lies in when education's data and accountability systems

provide information - is it in time or too late? That was the topic of a Michael and Susan Dell Foundation blog post, which featured examples of "leading and lagging" indicators. Readers were asked to decide which was which.


Knowing the difference can make all the difference. The drivers of education need more timely indicators they can respond to to make sure students stay on track.

We were encouraged by this New York Times article, "School Districts Embrace Business Model of Data Collection," which profiled Menomonee Falls School District's focus on indicators that signal how students are performing and where they need help.


Too often the success or failure of education is measured after the fact. Selecting leading indicators - like whether a student showed up for class, completed assignments, and/or met with tutors - puts educators in the drivers seat to take action to ensure students learn and achieve. Read more


Major Decisions

A new report from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce found the highest-paying college majors earn $3.4 million more throughout their careers than the lowest-paying majors. The center used U.S. Census data to analyze the wages of 137 college majors and found this wage disparity among majors increases over time. This research ups the ante on students' decisions about which majors to pick.


While the degree decision is powerful, the report is careful to point out that that "degrees are not destiny." Renowned for its incisive research, the center's data is important for students, but it should also exhort those involved in delivering higher education to do a much better job ensuring that all degrees deliver value in career and life. Read more.

GradNation's Good News

America's Promise released its GradNation report this week and it had some encouraging news.

The report found that the U.S. is on track for a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020.

While higher income students were more likely to graduate than low income students, there were some states with students defying a longstanding U.S. trend.

For example, low-income students in Kentucky and Texas are graduating high school at almost the same rates as their middle-class and affluent peers.

The report made several recommendations for closing persistent race, gender and income achievement gaps.

DQP/Tuning AdvisoryCouncil

IEBC joined higher education leaders across the nation to provide strategic advice on the promotion, growth and application of the Degree Qualifications Profile/(DQP) Tuning process.

More than 600 institutions across the US are already engaged in one or both of these programs, which help bridge the divide between the classroom and the workforce.

IEBC has named Dr. Marianne S. Wokeck, director of Tuning USA. Her experience and professional commitment are an excellent match for the work

Lee College Scales Up

Lee College, building on the Texas Gulf Coast region's Gulf Coast Partnership for Achieving Student Success (GC PASS), is reaching more students and more schools. GC PASS included eight community colleges and 11 independent school districts. with goals to increase college readiness; ease student transitions; and increase success in college developmental courses. W ith partner school Goose Creek ISD, Lee College's early impressive results include:

- 24% dual-credit enrollment increase enabling more Goose Creek students to start college early.

- 161% increase in the number of students taking the SAT.

Read more  about GC PASS, Lee College and the math and English curriculum alignment guides that helped make these results possible.
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the big opportunities and challenges of data use in education. We would love to learn more about your organization and how we can help. E-mail me at or call us at 760-436-1477.