California Education Lab

California Education Lab

CEL Faculty Director Michal Kurlaender speaking

The California Education Lab is a collaborative group of researchers investigating important questions of education policy and practice in California.  Much of our work focuses on understanding how young adults are prepared for, transition into, and succeed in college. We also have expertise in K-12 school and teacher quality, college quality, peer effects, educational achievement gaps, school climate, facilities, finance, and school choice. Our projects explicitly aim to understand and improve persistent inequalities in educational attainment for students from different racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.


In our work, we partner with California educators and policymakers across the K-12 and postsecondary sectors to answer timely and relevant questions with rigorous analytical methods. Our long-standing relationships with the California Department of Education, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the California State University Chancellor’s Office, the University of California Office of the President, and the California Student Aid Commission inform and enable our research. Overtime, we have accumulated considerable knowledge about the State’s multiple, and diverse, education sectors, and the data and methods necessary to answer critical policy questions for California.


To ensure the greatest impact on practice and policy, we cooperate with Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, and UC Davis Center for Poverty Research to disseminate our research findings. In addition to academic research conferences and publication in peer-reviewed journals, we disseminate our findings through research and policy briefs, and present at a wide variety of conferences and convenings.


Our work is supported through federal research grants and the generosity of private foundations.

Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
College Futures Foundation
Ford Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation
Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)
Sobrato Family Foundation
Stuart Foundation
Stupski Family Foundation
Tipping Point Community

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