Fetu Ta'iala Project is a 501.C.3 nonprofit organization that was established in 2015, in response to a longstanding academic crisis among Pacific Islander (PI) students within Washington State public schools. The problem has plagued the Pacific Islander community for decades and left unchecked, is likely to grow, potentially having a negative social and economic impact on our state and its affected communities.
Pacific Islander students have been overlooked in educational research. Their educational inequity in Washington State public schools is evident as far back as 1970. According to data published by various organizations such as OSPI (Washington States Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) Pacific Islander students are frequently at a disadvantage in Washington State public schools. They are more likely to come from families who are below the poverty level. A substantial number of students are not meeting the academic standards based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) state test. Their disciplinary rates are disproportionately high, relative to their total student enrollment. They have one of the highest chronic absenteeism rates and one of the highest dropout rates among students of color.
The unintended consequence of "lumping together" Asian American and Pacific Islander students into a single demographic research category, for a long time, has masked the real need and urgency for academic intervention on behalf of our Pacific Islander students.
Pacific Islander students have been under-served and misrepresented in our Washington State educational system.