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Schwarzenegger Cuts Funds For Student Tracking System

$6.8 million allocated for a system to track students' educational progress from kindergarten into the workplace was revoked by the California governor.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has cut $6.8 million in state funding for a plan to build a comprehensive database system to track the progress of students from kindergarten all the way into the workplace.

The governor cited poor management by the California Department of Education (CDE), which is in charge of building the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CalPADS), for eliminating the funds. "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," Schwarzenegger said in a press statement.

The governor's office said the CDE has spent more than $150 million already in its attempt to build the system, while other states spent less and built a comparable student database in "much less time." Virginia and Texas, according to Schwarzenegger, built longitudinal educational systems for $20 million in two years.

The decision to revoke funding is the second blow dealt this year to the system -- aimed at creating accountability for California's billions in investment to reform its ailing education system. In February, the U.S. Department of Education rejected the state's application for nearly $20 million to complete the system. CALPADS is meant to help education officials link student performance to regional and even teacher data, as well as track if other improvements to the state's educational system are having the desired effect. Lack of funding leaves the completion of the system in jeopardy, at least until there is a change in management, according to the governor's office. Schwarzenegger is handing authority back to state legislators to "place an appropriate entity in charge of the management to complete the project," his office said.

California is no stranger to struggles with IT project management, and the state is in the midst of a government-mandated reform of its IT operations to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness across the board. In fact, Schwarzenegger recently codified sweeping data-center consolidation and other reform strategies as a follow-up to an executive order he issued in February.