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California’s Future

By Ellen Hanak, Laura Hill, Hans Johnson, Caroline Danielson ...

This multi-topic publication highlights the state’s most pressing long-term policy challenges in several key areas: criminal justice, economy, education, safety net, and water and a changing climate.


Income Inequality and Economic Opportunity in California

By Sarah Bohn, Dean Bonner, Julien Lafortune, Tess Thorman

The current recession threatens to deepen California’s economic divide and further reduce opportunities for low-income families, communities of color, and women. State policy actions could promote an equitable recovery and address widening income inequality.


The Importance of CalFresh and CalWORKs in Children’s Early Years

By Caroline Danielson, Tess Thorman, Sarah Bohn

When a crisis disrupts finances, California families may turn to CalFresh and CalWORKs. About half of children access one or both of these safety net programs by age five. Knowing when children may participate, and for how long, can help policymakers address barriers to access.


A New Era of Student Access at California’s Community Colleges

By Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Olga Rodriguez, Hans Johnson

A landmark law (AB 705) has helped tens of thousands of community college students complete the courses necessary for transfer to a four-year college. But student outcomes vary across campuses, and more work is needed to ensure equitable access and completion rates—particularly in math.


Getting to Graduation on Time at California State University

By Jacob Jackson

Students who take more than four years to graduate incur added costs—from paying extra tuition to forgoing years in the workforce. This report examines how a strategy of taking more courses in the first year at California State University may influence on-time graduation, while exploring how different groups benefit from a full course load.


Higher Education and Economic Opportunity in California

By Hans Johnson, Marisol Cuellar Mejia

The pandemic and its economic impact have highlighted longstanding social inequities: low-income and less-educated workers are bearing the brunt of both the virus and the downturn. Now more than ever, policymakers and higher education leaders must find avenues for low income and underrepresented students to access the benefits of a college degree.


Who Is Losing Ground with Distance Learning in California?

By Niu Gao, Julien Lafortune, Laura Hill

As the pandemic continues, K–12 districts must understand where and how to refine remote instruction. In this report, we examine obstacles and disparities that may have caused some California students to fall behind after the switch to distance learning last spring, and we offer insights to help schools develop interventions to best serve these students.


Increasing Community College Transfers: Progress and Barriers

By Hans Johnson, Marisol Cuellar Mejia

Community college transfers are an essential route for underrepresented groups to achieve a bachelor’s degree. This study shows that students who reach key early milestones are much more likely to succeed. Recent reforms have the potential to lead to large increases in student transfer and success.


How Greater Vote-by-Mail Influences California Voter Turnout

By Eric McGhee, Jennifer Paluch, Mindy Romero

With COVID-19 threatening the November election, many states are working to increase voting by mail. In California, 15 counties have already expanded alternatives to in-person voting, and while overall voter turnout was higher, groups such as foreign-language and young voters sometimes saw declines. Outreach by trusted messengers may help in targeting low-turnout groups.

Fact Sheet

Race and Voting in California

By Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Alyssa Dykman, Rachel Lawler

Latinos, Asian Americans, and African Americans are less likely to vote than whites.

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