California 100 Grant to Evaluate Education for California’s Future

July 19, 2021

The Graduate School of Education (GSE) and the Berkeley Institute for Young Americans (BIFYA) announced today that they are the recipients of a research award from California 100, an ambitious statewide initiative to envision and shape the long-term success of the state.

The California 100 research award, along with technical assistance from the Institute For The Future, will enable the GSE and BIFYA to evaluate current facts, origins and future trends that education will play in California’s next century. The GSE and BIFYA research will be led by GSE Professor Zachary Pardos and BIFYA’s Policy Director & Senior Researcher, Erin Heys.

Pardos’ team will briefly chronicle the development and use of education technologies in the state, including during COVID-19 pandemic, and project observed trends into the future.

“This is an opportunity to outline scenarios for policymakers in which emerging pedagogical and technical innovations may allow for dramatically more dynamic, equitable, and sustainable educational paths to credentials and careers for Californians,” Pardos said.

“The state's education system has been regarded as an economic mobility marvel, but California will have to again embrace innovation in order to carry that mantle forward. I think the California 100 initiative recognizes this and endeavors to contribute something useful to the conversation about our shared future.”

Lawmakers, voters, and education stakeholders have made major strides to improve student equity and the quality of California’s education system, but challenges still remain, said Erin Heys, Policy Director and Senior Researcher at BIFYA.

“Following the COVID-19 crisis, the time is ripe to take stock of the state’s P-16 system to assess its strengths and weaknesses,” Heys said.

“We're at a critical pivot point in time where we need to think creatively about how we can design, invest, and innovate to create higher quality education experiences and prepare all students for the transformations taking place across the global political economy now and over the next century.”

This project will address three aspects of California's education system that have undergone significant transformations that are likely to continue in the years and decades to come: governance, school finance, and technology. A “facts-trends-origins” report will address the past and current innovations in each of these areas, challenges, and equity issues across California's preschool, K-12, and higher education systems. A second ‘scenarios’ report will offer insights into how technological changes will influence the higher education landscape, and how finance and governance of K-16 education may evolve over time.

The research will be complete by December 2021, and will lead to a set of policy alternatives for the future of California. The policy alternatives will be developed in conjunction with research teams from 12 other issue areas, and will be coordinated by Henry Brady, director of research of the California 100 Initiative and former Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley.

“We are excited to work with our research partners that are international experts in their issue areas,” Brady noted. “We will not only develop a comprehensive knowledge base on various policy issues, but we will also offer actionable recommendations for the California 100 Commission and the larger public to consider.”

The California 100 Commission is a multi-generational advisory body that will develop recommendations for the state’s future and test those recommendations across a broad set of policy areas by directly engaging Californians. Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of the California 100 Initiative, is tasked with assembling and engaging the Commission, and ensuring that the research stream intersects with the initiative’s other activities including advanced technology, policy innovation, and stakeholder engagement.

“From climate change, to aging populations and rapid changes in industry, California will face enormous challenges in the years ahead,” Ramakrishnan noted. “We are fortunate to be able to draw on the deep talent of researchers in California to produce evidence and recommendations that will inform robust public engagement and set the state on a strong, long-term trajectory for success.”

About the California 100 Research Grants

California 100 is a new statewide initiative being incubated at the University of California and Stanford University focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative will harness the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and stakeholder engagement. As part of its research stream of work, California 100 is sponsoring 13 research projects focused on the following issue areas:

  • Advanced technology and basic research
  • Arts, culture, and entertainment
  • Education and workforce, from cradle to career and retirement
  • Economic mobility and inequality
  • Energy, environment and natural resources
  • Federalism and foreign policy
  • Fiscal reform
  • Governance, media, and civil society
  • Health and wellness Housing and community development Immigrant integration
  • Public safety and criminal justice reform
  • Transportation and urban planning

About The Graduate School of Education

The Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley is home to a diverse group of students and faculty joined by their common interests in understanding and improving the complex world of education. Students and faculty tackle difficult questions—from how children, youth and adults learn, inside and outside classrooms; to how schools, communities and societies advance the educational and life chances of those they educate. In the process, students develop the necessary knowledge, skills, tools and experiences to handle those challenges. The GSE is committed to providing and cultivating the very best in educational scholarship, innovation, and professional leadership.

About Berkeley Institute for Young Americans

The Berkeley Institute for Young Americans is a research center at the Goldman School of Public Policy, founded in 2015 to bring together scholars from Berkeley and across the country to think long-term about the sustainability of public programs for future generations. The Institute works to make public policy sustainable and fair for the next generations by focusing on both ideas and action--we develop rigorous policy research while engaging a range of stakeholders in our work to create policy change. It is the only public university-affiliated research center working to fully understand the wide range of challenges that younger generations face today, with a focus on systems-level change for the future.

For more information about California 100, please visit

Editors: If you would like to learn more or request an interview with any of the partners, please contact any of the people below. 

Graduate School of Education

Policy Director and Senior Researcher
Berkeley Institute for Young Americans

Director of Engagement
California 100