CCA is the higher education affiliate of the California Teacher's Association (CTA), the largest and most influential professional association of educators in the state with more than 340,000 members. CCA has become one of the most powerful voices for community colleges at the state level, striving to improve the working conditions of our members and the quality of the community college system.
Nationally, CCA is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the largest public employee association in the country with over 3.2 million members. Our statewide headquarters are in Burlingame, with regional offices throughout northern and southern California.
The California Community Colleges have often been called, “The Equalizer” said Community College President, Ron Norton Reel. For many of our minority students, without the community college system, the door for advancement through education would be closed. Reel, himself knows this as a first generation college attendee from an itinerant farm laboring family and an American Indian; he was fortunate enough to rely on community college to allow him an opportunity to leave the agriculture fields and become an educator. Community colleges enroll more minority students than any other higher education system. Slightly over 7% of the students attending the California Community Colleges are African American. They represent 6% of the overall California population. Asian students comprise 11% of the students attending the California Community Colleges. They represent 12% of the overall California population. Hispanic students attending the California Community Colleges represent 30%. They represent 37% of the overall California population.
Reel is not alone, it appears that for most adults who have higher education training, they began their higher education either at a community college or somewhere along the line, attended one. California’s Community Colleges are the largest higher education system in the world. There are 72 districts, 112 colleges, and 2.8 million students who are attending one of our colleges at this time. Our colleges serve 73 percent of all students enrolled in California higher education. Approximately 24% of all the community college students nationwide are enrolled in a California community college. Two-thirds of all CSU graduates and over one-third of UC graduates began their college training at a community college or transferred from a community college.
Many successful people attended community college. Celebrities like actors Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Halle Berry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terri Hatcher, Queen Latifah, Billy Crystal, and Eddi Murphy to mention some. Director George Lucas and CSI, CSI Miami, and CSI New York creator Anthony E Zuiker attended community college. Former Speaker of the House, Jim Wright, media personality Jim Lehrer, former Presidential candidate Ross Perot, and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin also attended community college. Sports heroes Nolan Ryan, Bill Bradly, Steve Largent, and Jack Kemp to name just a small number attended community colleges.
The advantages of attending a California community college are many, however, here are just a few. We have an open door policy. This means that anyone with a high school diploma or GED may attend. We are close to home. As the word community indicates the proximity to your home, one of the 112 colleges are close to where you live. The cost of attending a community college is also an incentive. The student fees of $26 per unit are the lowest tuition paid in the entire United States. However, over 1/3 of our students qualify for a waiver of those fees because of the financial status. The ability to transfer to a prestigious college as a junior is also an advantage to attending a community college. Two-third of California community college students who transfer to UC complete a bachelor’s degree within three years of entering UC? This rate is comparable to the UC students who entered as freshmen. Also, those students who transfer from California community colleges to the University of California account for 48% of UC’s bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? Our community colleges train many of our public workers. Over 80% of California’s first responders: the firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMTs are credentialed at the California Community Colleges. Slightly over 70% of the nurses in California received their education from the California Community Colleges. We also train carpenters, electricians, auto mechanic specialists, flight attendants, computer technology specialist, and many other community partnered programs.
CCA is affiliated with many statewide and national organizations, including, importantly, the California Teachers Association (CTA). Here is some information on others.
The Higher Education Service Center, unlike the K-12 Service Centers, is a statewide service center which includes CCA, the California Faculty Association (CFA), the Independent California College and University Faculty Association (ICCUFA), and the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA).
The Higher Education Service Center does not have regular meetings. It oversees the election of delegates representing the higher education components mentioned. Each constituent meets independently (all but SCTA) to the NEA Representative Assembly held in the summer of each year and the election of higher education faculty to the CTA's State Council. The CCA President usually serves as the Chair of the Higher Education Service Council, meaning he/she attends the Service Center meetings held at CTA State Council meetings.
The Higher Education Caucus meets on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. during the CTA State Council. Anyone may join the caucus as a member or as an associate member. The purpose of the caucus is to coordinate higher education activities and to share information affecting higher education.
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) is an independent organization for higher education faculty and support staff within the National Education Association (NEA). NCHE seeks support and membership from all categories of NEA members and higher education affiliates. NCHE advocates for higher education services and programs within NEA and nationwide. It identifies and focuses on the interests and concerns of NEA higher education members, affiliates, and promotes NEA as the representative agent for higher education and recommends programs within NEA to address the problems faced by college and university faculty and staff.
CCA encourages individuals to join NCHE. A membership form can be obtained by writing to NCHE Secretary/Treasurer, NEA Affiliate Capacity Building, 1201 - 16th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-3290 (Phone: 202-822-7910)
Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interest of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the National Education Association has remained constant in its commitment to its original goals as evidenced by the current mission statement:
To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all. In pursing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education."