California Education Dialogue

A public policy dialogue produced by Information Renaissance
with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
IBM Corporation and Intel Corporation



About Dialogues

Briefing Book

Discussion Archive


Report of the Working Group on Governance


Executive Summary


Group Findings

K-12 Education
Post-Secondary Education

California Community Colleges
California Postsecondary Education Commission

K-16 Education


Governance Background

K-12 Education
Postsecondary Education
K-16 Education


Governance addresses the education system’s ability to meet its expectations and solve problems within its structure. Governance is essentially structure and control: What officials or entities should be making and carrying out what decisions, and within what structures? To answer these questions, the goals of the education system must be clearly articulated. The goals then provide a basis for the configuration of structures and the designation of responsibilities and decision-making authority.

The Governance Working Group recommended improvements in the structure of education governance to meet three goals:

  • Employing student achievement as the measure of success.

  • Improving accountability—a clear delineation of responsibilities and consequences.

  • Ensuring coordination between K-12 and postsecondary education, and between and among the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges.

K-12 State-level Recommendations

  1. Accountability to California’s citizens for the operations of K-12 public education at large, and ultimate responsibility for the delivery of education to California’s K-12 public education students in particular, should both reside in the office of the Governor. The Governor should appoint a Chief State Schools Officer, to carry out, on behalf of the Governor, the following functions: establishing learning expectations, providing an accountability system of measurement (including specific technical assistance), and apportioning resources, and to serve as the Director of the Department of Education. (A minority position within the Group favored continuing to have an independent elected office responsible for K-12 education.)

  2. The Governor should be accountable for all state-level K-12 education agencies.

  3. The separate executive director and staff of the State Board in the Department of Education should be eliminated.

  4. The State Board of Education members should be drawn from and represent distinct geographical regions, and the functions of the State Board should be limited to policy matters.

K-12 Intermediate-level Recommendations

  1. A state-level inquiry, organized independent of currently existing agencies, should examine county offices and regional entities and their ability to meet current and emerging district, intermediate, and regional needs, including fiscal oversight, academic oversight, and management and administrative assistance. After this inquiry is performed and reported, the Master Plan should incorporate a corresponding course of action.

K-12 District-level Recommendations

  1. A report of all pertinent research to date should be compiled regarding the effects of district and school size and structure on curriculum articulation, service coordination, and accountability at the site and district level. After this inquiry is performed and reported, the Master Plan should incorporate a corresponding course of action.

  2. An examination of collective bargaining should be undertaken to determine the extent to which bargaining agreements may constrain the ability of school districts to ensure the provision of essential non-personnel resources to students. The results of this examination should be used to determine an appropriate strategy to ensure that all districts set aside sufficient resources to meet state standards before engaging in bargaining for use of public resources for personnel costs.

Postsecondary RecommendationsCalifornia Community Colleges (CCC)

  1. The California Community College system’s main missions, by level, should be: state level, transfer; regional and local levels, workforce preparation; and local level, remediation.

  2. The responsibilities of the Board of Governors and local boards should be defined as the following:

Board of Governors:

  • Exercise general supervision over, and coordination of, the local community college districts.
  • Provide leadership and direction through research and planning.
  • Establish minimum conditions and standards to be required for all districts to receive state support and to function within the system.
  • Establish specific accountability measures and assure evaluation of district performance based on those measures.
  • Approve courses of instruction and educational programs that meet local, regional, and state needs.
  • Administer state operational and capital outlay support programs.
  • Adopt a proposed system budget and allocation process.
  • Ensure system-wide articulation with other segments of education.
  • Represent the districts before state and national legislative and executive agencies.

Local Boards:

  • Establish, maintain, and oversee the colleges within each district.
  • Assure the district meets the minimum conditions and standards established by the Board of Governors.
  • Establish policies for local academic, operations, and facilities planning to assure accomplishment of the statutory mission within conditions and standards established by the Board of Governors:
  • Adopt local district budgets.
  • Oversee the procurement and management of property.
  • Establish policies governing student conduct.
  • Establish policies to guide new course development, course revision/deletion, and curricular quality.

  1. A state assessment should be conducted on the value of and need for restructuring of local districts with attention to the size and number of colleges in a district, as well as the scope of authority that should be assigned to each district. Should this assessment find restructuring valuable and desirable, incentives should be provided to encourage restructuring.

  2. The CCC Board of Governors should have the same degree of flexibility and authority as that of CSU/UC, including the authority to appoint/approve senior staff to the Board of Governors.

California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC)

  1. CPEC should be configured as follows:

  • The Governor should appoint its membership, for staggered terms.
  • The commission should continue to appoint its executive director.
  • There should be a civil service exemption for staff (parity with the structure of CSU).
  • The mission should be to provide policy and fiscal advice that represents the broad public interest, planning for coordination, program review, and new campus approval.

K-16 Recommendations

  1. The Master Plan should be adopted by the Legislature as a template from which to formulate legislation and regulatory policy and thereby reduce the number of bills considered each year.

  2. The responsibility for K-16 coordination should be assigned to the Governor.

  3. An independent agency should be identified to collect K-16 data, including cross-segmental and cross-level data.

  4. To provide a firm legal basis for a sphere of local control, consideration should be given to amending the state constitution to permit local districts to adopt limited “home rule” authority through votes of their electorates in a manner similar to that long permitted for cities and counties.

Table of Contents
Summary Introduction K-12 PS
K-16 Conclusion Background Members