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January 8, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
Melissa Figueroa (916) 651-4011
Keith Weissglass (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill (SB) 2 (in the 5th Extraordinary Session), authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto). Senate Bill X5 2 expands and improves public access to California’s student performance data (CALPADS). The bill passed during a special session focused on enacting legislation to qualify California to compete for up to $700 million in federal “Race to the Top” funding.

“This bill is a step in the right direction for our schools,” Simitian said. “It makes us more competitive for federal funding, and it will ultimately help us use scarce resources in the best way possible.”

Senate Bill X5 2 enables independent researchers and community groups to access research that will help answer questions about student performance – something not previously possible under the law. This change will increase the state’s competitiveness for federal “Race to the Top” funding.

Local education leaders applauded the bill’s passage. “We appreciate Senator Simitian’s efforts to help our schools qualify for much-needed federal dollars,” said Shelly Masur, a Trustee of the Redwood City School District. “And in the long run, this bill will help give us the tools we need to make more informed decisions in our schools.” Her district is one of many throughout the state seeking “Race to the Top” funds.

Under SBX5 2, the California Department of Education will expand its role in reviewing requests for access to statewide performance data. The Department will also ensure that requests comply with state and federal laws, including privacy safeguards.

“Whether your first priority is careful use of taxpayer dollars or a first-rate education for our kids, we need to know how to spend our limited funds most effectively,” Simitian said. “Giving researchers access to this data will help us learn what works, and what doesn’t.”

Senate Bill X5 2 also specifies that California’s student data system, CALPADS, will ultimately include pre-K and higher education data (P-20 comprehensive). Existing law only required the state to track K-12 data, which precluded the study of longer-term education outcomes.

Senate Bill X5 2 is Simitian’s latest piece of legislation to develop California’s statewide education data systems. In 2006, his Senate Bill 1614 created a comprehensive statewide teacher workforce database to reveal, among other things, which programs improve student performance. In 2008, Simitian’s Senate Bill 1298 set the stage for the development of a comprehensive Pre-K through higher education longitudinal statewide system.

More recently, Simitian’s Senate Bill 19 ensured California’s eligibility for “Race to the Top” funds by addressing federal concerns about teacher performance data. That measure was signed into law by the Governor last October.

To learn more about SBX5 2 or Simitian’s other education data legislation, visit