What We Do

We at Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation do our best work when:

  • We CONVENE people and organizations to develop goals and innovative solutions to improve our state’s public education system.
  • We COMMUNICATE to build awareness and access to key resources.
  • We CATALYZE new approaches to meet statewide goals, assembling and stewarding resources including philanthropic investments in the CDE and others, to invest in the development of innovative ideas and practices that can scale to advance public education.

In a state that educates 6.2 million children, CDE Foundation has:

  • Harnessed the power of 1.2 million members of state associations to communicate about our new standards;
  • Impacted the education of over 1.5 million students in over 100 districts through our labor management initiative;
  • Supported thirteen districts serving 35,000 students to address chronic absence;
  • Convened over 3,100 educators and advocates to improve STEM learning; and
  • Convened pivotal task forces to develop recommendations on Accountability and Continuous Improvement, Environmental Literacy, and STEM Education that have resulted in consensus development, policy shifts, and concrete recommendations to CDE.

Read our 2016 Community Report.

Common Core

As we remodel our system of education, California has shifted to a new set of standards. To support communications efforts in the state, CDEF has worked with the Frameworks Institute to develop a number of communications tools and has gathered information about other ones that can help you talk about the California Common Core Standards effectively.



Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

STEM learning is important for everyone. These interconnected content areas give us the building blocks for understanding and continuing to improve the systems that power, develop, and advance our society, our economy and industry.

CDEF’s leadership on STEM is reflected in its annual STEM Symposium as well as its support for the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.


Healthy Kids

Health is critical to academic success. Active and well-nourished children & youth have better attendance, stay in school, and are ready to learn. CDEF’s whole child approach to health and wellness guides our work by recognizing the complex, interrelated, and unique aspects of children’s health and wellness in the broader scope of public education.


Labor-Management Collaboration

Collaborative work by local teacher unions and school districts in California has often led to significant school and district improvement. To support and build upon this work, CDEF is coordinating a California Labor-Management Initiative (CA LMI) with a range of statewide partners, including the California Department of Education.

The CA LMI is focused on four primary goals:

1. Build the collective knowledge base for supporting local labor-management collaborations in California;
2. Build capacity and resources at the state, regional, and local levels to support local labor-management collaborations;
3. Facilitate learning and sharing of promising labor-management practices among local labor-management teams; and
4. Improve a wide range of educational outcomes.

Accountability and Continuous Improvement

The Advisory Task Force on Accountability and Continuous Improvement is a team of education leaders convened to advise the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on his recommendations for a new California system of public education accountability and continuous improvement to the State Board of Education and the state legislature.

The task force is being co-chaired by Wes Smith, ACSA Executive Director, and Eric Heins, CTA President. Additionally, the SSPI has appointed 25+ key education leaders from throughout California to serve on the task force.