Teachers and administrators who work in underserved public schools should understand the importance of Title I legislation. Title I is part of the No Child Left Behind Act that was passed into law by President George W. Bush in 2001. It awards funds to schools with large numbers of students from families living below the poverty line. Title I funds can be used by schools to provide educational resources and learning tools for students who might otherwise lack the preparation for primary or secondary education.
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Title I Origin
Title I originated in its earliest form during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration in the 1960s. President Johnson instituted the “War on Poverty” as a way to reduce poverty in the country after many generations of racially exclusive laws that were abolished by the Civil Rights Act of 1965. The original name of Title I was the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and it became Title I legislation when President Bush worked with members of Congress to pass the No Child Left Behind Act during his first term in office.
Types of Title I Programs
Federal funds are awarded to public schools through two types of Title I programs. School-wide funds are awarded to schools in which the percentage of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches exceeds the minimum threshold, according to the Department of Education. Targeted assistance is available for certain students at schools that don’t qualify for school-wide funds. When schools receive targeted assistance, funds are available only for students with failing grades or students who are most at risk of failing. Schools with enough students qualifying for reduced-cost lunches receive Title I funds for school-wide assistance. These schools can use federal funds to improve the learning environment for all students, regardless of their background or test scores.
How Title I Schools Are Different
Title I schools have special responsibilities that other schools don’t have. At schools receiving Title I funds, teachers and administrators are responsible for identifying students most at risk of falling behind or failing altogether. When identifying at-risk students, family income should not be a factor in consideration. Before receiving Title I assistance, schools must demonstrate the level of student achievement at the time of application. Students are required to take standardized tests to gauge their ability with respect to other students throughout the country. Testing is conducted at several points during the administration of funds to ensure that Title I schools are helping students improve their academic performance.
How Schools Qualify
Title I funding is contingent upon adequate yearly progress, or AYP. Students are tested for verbal and mathematical proficiency at several points throughout the school year to ensure that adequate academic progress is being made. In order to continue receiving funds, schools must meet the minimum educational requirements set at the state level. AYP milestones are targeted toward specific racial and ethnic groups, and they vary between groups with different average test scores and rates of achievement. Title I funding is available only to schools in which parents play a prominent role in children’s education. Special programs and educational activities that involve parents must be organized by Title I schools to ensure continued funding.
Educators who wish to work in public elementary and secondary schools should understand No Child Left Behind legislation and its impact on student achievement. When it comes to receiving Title I funds, teachers, administrator, and parents have a lot of responsibility.