In March 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared that 2008 would be the "year of education" in California. A wise observer of the education policy system soon pointed out that the only certain implication of the governor's declaration was that 2007 would not be the year of education. This proved to be true, and—as it turned out—2008 was not the “Year of Education” either. Some progress has been made on discrete issues including the development of a student-level data system, but the daunting challenges facing California’s education system remain to be addressed.
Most observers of California’s education system agree that major changes will be needed to bring about big improvements in the performance of the state's schools. The release of the "Getting Down to Facts" (GDTF) studies in 2007 set the table for these changes, providing a thorough diagnosis of the state’s educational challenges and deἀning the agenda for systemic educational reform. The Governor’s Committee on Educational Excellence (GCEE) released their own report early in 2008, proposing a thoughtful and comprehensive strategy for reform that promised dramatic improvements in the performance of Cali-fornia’s schools and students.