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O'Connell Objects, Aceves Approves

Governor Uses Line Item Veto to Idle CALPADS System

October 14, 2010

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a veto on Friday, nixing funding intended for the development and support of the California Department of Education’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CalPADS).

In his veto message, the Governor said “It is critical to have a statewide longitudinal data system to measure overall effectiveness of teachers, principals and schools. Without this data, reform efforts in our lowest achieving schools are paralyzed. The lack of a functioning system was also a significant factor in California's loss of federal Race to the Top funding, and enough is enough. I am reducing the funding available to the CDE for the development and support of CalPADS.  I am concerned that the resources allocated for this purpose lack necessary accountability to ensure the citizens of California receive a high quality longitudinal educational data system.”

The Governor continued, “The absence of a good statewide data system frustrates the efforts of school district leaders who need this data to learn from other high performing school districts across the state and improve school achievement in their classrooms. While the CDE, overseen by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, has struggled to develop a functional state longitudinal data system for more than seven years and spent over $150 million, other states have allocated far less funding and achieved their databases in much less time. For example, Virginia and Texas spent approximately $20 million over two years in the development of similar systems.”

Governor Schwarzenegger said he will request that state legislative leaders address this issue upon their return to session. Specifically, the Administration will encourage bipartisan legislation to place an appropriate entity in charge of the management to complete the project to provide a data system that will successfully supply student-level achievement data to assist teachers, district administrators and policy makers with reliable information.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell strongly objected, saying Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of $7.9 million from the California Department of Education (CDE) will prevent the continued implementation of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS).

“Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of funding for the ongoing development and support for CALPADS is shortsighted, ill-informed, and hypocritical,” O’Connell said.

“CALPADS has been on-line for one year. Despite some initial operational challenges, the system is working and important student-level information is being collected in California. CALPADS currently tracks all K-12 students in the state using statewide identifiers which have been assigned to all students, and maintains data of students longitudinally. More than 90 percent of districts and charter schools have successfully submitted data through CALPADS.  With one more year of data, California, for the first time, will be able to provide a 4-year graduation rate based on student level data. This is significant progress, particularly when you consider that California’s public education system has been under funded by more than $17 billion over the last two years, and the fact that the Governor has repeatedly vetoed a modest investment of $5 per pupil to support local educational agencies’ data quality efforts.

“The outlandish claim by the Governor that California has spent $150 million on CALPADS is flat out wrong,” O’Connell said. “The Governor’s own Office of the Chief Information Officer reports that California has spent $23 million on CALPADS between Fiscal Year 2005-2006 and the 2010-11 budget year. The Governor also fails to acknowledge that he has invested very few state dollars in the development of CALPADS, relying almost entirely on federal funds for this project and has now taken those away as well.

He added, “A statewide education data system is critical to help guide education policy, inform professional development for educators, and improve teaching and learning. Disrupting the implementation of CALPADS at this juncture will delay California’s long-anticipated efforts to implement a longitudinal education data system, and set us further behind other states that already have education data systems in place. Rather than maintaining California’s course towards meeting its education data goals of helping all students reach their full potential, the Governor’s veto of CALPADS funding just sent California racing to the bottom of the heap.”

Larry Aceves – a candidate to succeed O’Connell – took a different view of the veto than O’Connell.  Aceves, who has often been critical of the Governor, agreed with this particular action.

“I don’t usually agree with the funding cuts that Governor Schwarzenegger has made to education, but I applaud his actions in vetoing CALPADS funding,” said Aceves. “I recently called for a legislative audit of this system because of the number of problems that have plagued this flawed system. We need to know how our students are performing, but this system is failing.  The Governor is right – enough is enough.”

Source:  Governorís Press Office, California Department of Education, Aceves campaign.