Californians don’t have to look far to see the challenges facing our schools. Statistics show:
- More than one million kindergarten-through-12th grade students in our state attend schools in the lowest two deciles of the Academic Performance Index, California's ranking system.
- Almost 95 percent of elementary school students in our lowest performing schools live in poverty;
- 93 percent of these students receive free or reduced lunch;
- 62 percent are learning to speak English;
- And over 95 percent of all students in Schools of Greatest Need are ethnic minorities.
To address these issues, the CTA Board of Directors established the Schools of Greatest Need Initiative in 2002, to begin to find a way to bring high-quality equitable schools to our most vulnerable communities. The initiative represents a long-term commitment to work in partnership with teachers, parents, community-based organizations, and businesses to create effective strategies for increasing parental and community involvement in these schools.
CTA has selected a number of schools in the state, starting in Pomona Unified School District, to inaugurate a community-based planning process and pilot program to improve student learning, increase professional training for new and emergency-credentialed teachers, build stronger involvement of parents from diverse cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and invite investment from individuals, businesses, and foundations. It is the over-arching program within the Institute for Teaching.
Providing assistance to our schools of greatest need is one of CTA's highest priorities. The Quality Education Investment Act, born from CTA-sponsored legislation and the settlement of a lawsuit between CTA and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is another CTA initiative that was designed to help schools that are serving a higher percentage of low income, minority and English learners to close the achievement gap. Learn more about the Quality Education Investment Act.