FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BURLINGAME – Acting on its strong commitment to provide more support and resources to students and teachers in the state’s schools of greatest need, the California Teachers Association is sponsoring legislation creating the Quality Education Investment Act. It invests nearly $3 billion over seven years to help schools serving low-income and minority students, and English language learners close the achievement gap.
The CTA bill stems directly from the settlement of a lawsuit CTA filed against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 after he took public education funding and refused to pay it back. The state’s repayment of $2.9 billion in Proposition 98 funding owed to public education would be used to help targeted schools reduce class sizes, improve teacher and principal training, and add counselors, while also giving local school districts the flexibility to support programs that best fit the needs of their students.
“This legislation is about giving students and teachers in our lowest-performing schools the resources they desperately need to succeed," said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the 340,000-member CTA. “Targeting these schools with smaller class sizes, more counselors, and quality teachers will create a better learning environment and improve student achievement.”
The legislation – SB 1133 by state Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch – will target nearly a million students in more than 1,400 public schools ranked in the lowest two deciles by the state’s Academic Performance Index. These schools have the highest percentages of students living in poverty, learning English, and facing other complex educational challenges, Kerr said.
“This important legislation is not a quick fix, which classroom teachers know is not the answer. It’s really about building the framework for lasting change for generations of students,” Kerr said. “Lawmakers should move quickly to support and enact the Quality Education Investment Act, and the governor should sign it into law.”
CTA research shows the acute challenges these bottom-ranked schools face. Decile 1 and 2 schools have 134 percent more English learners than other schools in the state; 98 percent more students participating in the free and reduced-price lunch program; and 167 percent more students whose parents did not graduate from high school. Meanwhile, other schools in the state have 8 percent more fully credentialed teachers than the Decile 1 and 2 schools.
The Quality Education Investment Act also provides additional resources to community colleges to expand career education programs that integrate the curriculum of high schools and community colleges to give students four years of rigorous vocational training.
“This legislation is an investment in our children’s future and in the future of our state,” said Kerr.
Read Quality Education Investment Fact Sheet (pdf)
View School Information (pdf)