Skip to content

December 18, 2009

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


SACRAMENTO – The State Legislature approved Senate Bill (SB) X5 2, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto). The legislation, passed Thursday in a special session focused on education reform, would expand and improve public access to California’s student performance data. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.

“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.”

SBX5 2 makes several improvements to California’s education data systems to increase school accountability. The bill enables independent researchers and community groups to access research that will help answer questions about student performance – something not possible under current law. If enacted, the measure will increase the state’s competitiveness for federal “Race to the Top” funding.

Under SBX5 2, the California Department of Education would expand its role in reviewing requests for access to statewide performance data. The Department would 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.”

SBX5 2 also specifies that California’s student data system will ultimately include pre-K and higher education data (P-20 comprehensive). Current law only requires the state to track K-12 data, which precludes the study of longer-term education outcomes.

“Education data isn’t exactly a rousing topic,” said Simitian, who began his public service as a School Board Member in Palo Alto. “But the questions we’re dealing with matter to six million children across our state. Given that we’re never going to have all the money we want to educate kids in California, we need the tools to make smart, well informed decisions,” he said.

The current bill is part of Simitian’s continuing effort to expand California’s statewide education database. It follows Senate Bill 19, which 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 in October.

To learn more about SBX5 2, visit