Keeping PACE: Policy Analysis for California Education

California is often at the forefront of educational innovation in the U.S., and PACE helps keep the state there. Policy Analysis for California Education is a non-partisan research center overseen by three of the state's top universities that drives real, research-based policy change in education. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Public Education

Education Innovators

There's a lot happening in education in California. Just this fall, San Francisco launched the first-ever city-managed college savings plan for all incoming public kindergarten students. And just a month later, the California Supreme Court ruled that illegal immigrants can qualify for in-state tuition at California public universities, a coup for education activists seeking to increase access to higher ed.

Just as California has always been at the forefront of the environmental movement, these actions demonstrate the state's commitment to innovation in public education, from kindergarten through college. And that attitude is promoted by groundbreaking policy research by three of the state's top universities.

California Capitol Building Sacramento

Research-Based Policy

Founded in 1983, Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) is a non-partisan research center based at the University of California - Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Southern California. The organization's mission is to:

'Define and sustain a long-term strategy for comprehensive policy reform and continuous improvement in performance at all levels of California's education system, from early childhood to post-secondary education and training.'

Utilizing the resources of the three universities, PACE aims to connect research to policy, uniting academics with politicians to effect real, research-based change. Pursuant to this goal, the group has four main functions:

  • Publishing research reports, policy briefs and working papers on educational policy issues in California.
  • Convening seminars and briefings to make the most recent research available to policymakers throughout the state.
  • Giving expert testimony on educational issues to legislative committees and other policy groups.
  • Supporting school districts and education associations on data use and evaluation projects, as well as efforts to implement new education policy.


Raising the Bar

PACE is currently managing three projects. The first addresses teacher compensation. The federal government recently released guidelines for the $439 million Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), a grant program that promotes the development of new methods teacher compensation. In response, PACE scholar Julia E. Koppich published the 'Guide to the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) for California School Districts,' a resource for districts who are considering applying for funding from the TIF program. PACE also conducted a webinar (still available on its website) with Ms. Koppich and U.S. Department of Education official Jo Anderson to provide more information on the program.

The second ongoing program at PACE is the California Diploma Project (CDP). This is a statewide effort to increase the value of a high school diploma by raising the standards for high school curricula and assessments. The goal is to align secondary schools with the standards set by postsecondary education and the workforce, thus better preparing California high school graduates for college and career.

Finally, PACE is linking the CDP with similar efforts across the country via the American Diploma Project (ADP). The goal is to develop national standards that states can use as a guideline for the improvement of local public education.

Interested in the state of education in California? Check out the PACE podcast, where you can download free recordings of all PACE seminars since November 2008.

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