- PACE, originally called Policy Alternatives for California Education, is established and funded through a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Its mission is to provide a "non-partisan, objective analysis of California education policy ... to fill a gap between the legislature and good policy analysis."
- PACE holds its first seminar, entitled "The 1982 Elections," on November 18th.
- The legislature passes SB 813, landmark education reform bill. PACE takes the lead in analyzing the bill and tailors future PACE projects toward understanding its impact.
- PACE works closely with the Department of Education to develop a proposal for a Blue Ribbon Commission for the Teaching Profession. The Commission is created by Governor Deukmejian and PACE solidifies its position as a key player in California education.
- The first issue of "Conditions of Education" is published.
- Proposition 37 is approved by California voters, instituting a state lottery and guaranteeing increased funds for education from annual lottery revenue.
- Vocational education becomes an ongoing interest of PACE, with the publication of its first report, "One million hours a day." Later, PACE plays a large role in the creation of a 2002 state plan for vocational and adult education.
- PACE publishes "Do Our Schools Win, too?" - one of the first reports to analyze the long term impact of lottery revenues, projecting that its impact will be small and may confuse public perceptions about school finance.
- PACE publishes the groundbreaking report, "Conditions of Children".
- California voters pass Proposition 98, guaranteeing a set percentage of the annual state budget for education.
- Proposition 140 passes, limiting the number of terms elected officials serve, and reducing capitol staff.
- In response to the effects of Proposition 140, PACE increases visibility in Sacramento, sponsoring monthly California Education Policy Seminars (CEPS).
- PACE organizes seminars and publications about the pending Proposition 174, which called for a school voucher system. PACE finds that the initiative would "dilute the public school minimum guaranteed by Prop 98," and its impact is "uncertain."
- Proposition 174 is overwhelmingly rejected by California voters. PACE played a large role in communicating policy implications to voters.
- PACE submits a ten-point plan, "Rebuilding Education in the Golden State," to Superintendent Delaine Eastin, who publicly embraces the report and pursues its recommendations.
- PACE releases its analysis of Proposition 38, which would have ushered in School Voucher Programs throughout the state.
- Continued work with preschool and child-care in California precedes national attention to issues such as universal preschool. PACE's work in the area of early childhood education sets the tone for later policy debates.
- PACE publishes an investigation of the effects and outcomes of a statewide universal preschool policy, which highlights the main obstacles that Proposition 82 would face a year later.
- PACE takes part in a state-initiated, multi-year research endeavor, Getting Down to Facts, which focuses on the condition of California's financial, governance and logistical support for schools.
- PACE publishes Crucial Issues in California Education, renewing state-wide conversations about new efforts for school reform.
- Conditions of Education returns as PACE's signature report on the most relevant and significant issues in California's education system.
- Learning About New Forms of Teacher Compensation was a conference presented both in Oakland and Los Angeles that introduced new approaches to teacher compensation then being pioneered in districts including Austin, Denver, New York, and San Francisco.
- Middle Grades Math: Why Algebra Matters and How Technology Can Help was a conference at Stanford that brought math educators and policy leaders together with developers and entrepreneurs to explore how digital technology might help to improve mathematics learning for students in the middle grades.
- In partnership with USC Rossier School of Education, PACE launches the first annual voter poll.
- Published in the first full year of Governor Brown's first term, the report Getting Down to Facts: Five Years Later reviewed California's progress on four key issues (finance, governance, teachers and leaders, and data systems) identified in the 2007 "Getting Down to Facts" project, and discussed strategies that the new administration might adopt to bring about further improvements in the state's public school system.
- In the policy brief, The Common Core Meets State Policy: This Changes Almost Everything, State Board of Education President Mike Kirst placed implementation of the Common Core State Standards at the center of California's education reform strategy, and explained how multiple policy initiatives including LCFF were intended to support improvements in classroom instruction for California students.
- Published shortly after the adoption of the Local Control Funding Formula, the PACE report 2020 Vision: Rethinking Budget Priorities Under the LCFF identified a variety of research-based policies for consideration by local leaders as they decided how to spend the new revenues that their districts were expected to receive under LCFF.
- The LCFF Research Collaborative forms to study the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula and related policy structures.
- In the report Supporting Continuous Improvement in California's Education System, Linda Darling-Hammond and David Plank discussed the principles guiding the design of California's new accountability system, and provided an initial blueprint for the construction of the state's System of Support.
- PACE launches a research partnership with the CORE Districts, which serve over 1 million California students, to support system improvement.
- PACE holds the first annual policy and research conference.
- Getting Down to Facts II, a set of 36 research studies, takes stock of how California’s PreK-12 education system is performing and what improvements are needed, to inform incoming Governor Gavin Newsom's priorities.