SAN FRANCISCO — A California lawmaker and prominent business advocacy group on Monday urged Gov. Jerry Brown to restore funding to develop statewide data systems to track student and teacher performance.
State Sen. Joe Simitian and the Bay Area Council called on Brown not to cut funding for the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System, or CALPADS, and the California Longitudinal Teacher Information Data Education System, or CALTIDES.
CALPADS, which was created to help California comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, is designed to collect information about each of the state's 6.2 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade and track their academic progress over time.
The Democratic lawmaker said the two systems are needed to improve California's public schools, which rank near the bottom among 50 states in many measures of student achievement.
"This is about what works and what doesn't and what gives us the best results in the classroom," said Simitian, D-Palo Alto.
The governor's revised budget plan calls for suspending about $8.5 million in federal funding for the CALPADS and CALTIDES systems and using that money for other purposes, said Brad Strong, education policy director at the advocacy group Children Now.
Asked about that decision, Brown last week said that local educators can already use existing data to improve student achievement at the district level.
"I see education as a local responsibility. The data is there and the superintendents and the teachers and the principals and the school boards should make use of it," Brown said at a June 2 event hosted by the California Chamber of Commerce.
The lack of a robust student tracking system was among the issues cited by the Obama administration last year when California lost out on millions of dollars in education reform grants from the federal Race to the Top competition.
Associated Press Writer Juliet Williams in Sacramento contributed to this report.