Los Angeles has a rich history of opportunity and new beginnings and is now one of the most populous and diverse cities in America. Despite the great hope our city represents, we are failing to deliver on its promise for many of our children.
California, which serves over six million students, continues to rank near the bottom of all states in almost every significant measurement of educational success. Los Angeles comprises the nation’s second largest school district—serving almost 700,000 students—and has one of the most diverse student populations. More than 95 percent of the students we serve on a daily basis are eligible for the federal free- and reduced-price lunch program. Facing the extra challenges of poverty, only 15 percent of fourth-grade public school students in California who were eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch scored at or above proficient in reading on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam.
But Los Angeles is a city of reinvention, and hundreds of innovators are working alongside the community to create change for its students. Teach For America – Los Angeles is proud to have been a partner in this work for more than two decades. Nearly 800 corps members and alumni in Los Angeles currently teach over 65,000 students every day. Our teachers are doing incredible work that is being publicly recognized. In 2013, a Mathematica study found that on average, Teach For America secondary math instructors led their students to academic gains that equate to 2.6 additional months of instruction. Additionally, Harvard’s Strategic Data project identified first year Teach For America teachers as some of the most effective first year LAUSD teachers in teaching math and reading in the district.
Even more exciting, Teach For America alumni work to minimize the extra challenges facing children growing up in low-income communities, build the capacity of schools and school systems, and change the prevailing ideology through their examples and their advocacy. Our alumni work directly for change at every level of our education system as teachers, school principals, and district administrators. They help take the pressure off schools through endeavors in economic development, public health, social services, and law. They pioneer innovations in public service as social entrepreneurs and influence our priorities and policies as advocates, policy advisers, elected officials, and influencers in other sectors.
Teach For America – Los Angeles corps members, alumni, and staff believe that change is possible, and we are motivated to reach the day when all students in Los Angeles will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.