Once a powerhouse of industry, today Cleveland is among America's poorest cities. While many strategies have been employed to revitalize the region, community leaders are now focusing increased energy on education as a central means to help the city tap its longstanding entrepreneurial spirit and break the cycle of poverty.
Despite hope for a promising future, Cleveland's students from low-income neighborhoods currently face incredibly challenging odds in the pursuit of academic success—odds that prevent too many from reaching their true potential. Just 40 percent of kids growing up in poverty in Greater Cleveland scored proficient or above in math on state standardized exams, compared to 84 percent of their more affluent peers. The statistics are similar in science, where just 28 percent of kids from low-income communities scored proficient or above, compared to 77 percent of their wealthier neighbors.
But we won't let the statistics define our potential. City leaders and community members are laying the groundwork for change. With the support of families, schools, and community organizations, Teach For America is thrilled to become part of the effort to ensure all of our students receive the educational opportunities that will allow them to flourish.