Title I, Part A - Overview
Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was originally undertaken by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a part of his “war on poverty”. It was then and is now the largest compensatory education program in America. The intent of Title I is to narrow the education gap that exists between middle and low income children by providing extra resources to help improve instruction in high-poverty schools. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was reauthorized in 2001 as The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The law requires States to develop standards in reading and math, and assessments linked to those standards for all students in grades 3-8. Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and schools must use Title I funds for activities that scientifically based research suggests will be most effective in helping all students meet these State standards.
States also must develop annual adequate yearly progress (AYP) objectives-disaggregated by student groups based on poverty, race and ethnicity, disability, and limited English proficiency-that will result in all students achieving proficiency in reading and math within 12 years from 2001. Biennial State participation in the State-level version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will provide benchmarks for ensuring the rigor of State standards and assessments.
NCLB also requires LEAs to permit students in schools that fail to meet annual State AYP objectives for two consecutive years to transfer to a better public school. If schools continue to fail to meet AYP, students will be permitted to use Title I funds to obtain educational services from the public- or private-sector provider selected by their parents from a State-approved list.
The law requires schools identified for improvement (after failing to make AYP for two consecutive years) to develop improvement plans incorporating strategies from scientifically based research. Schools that fail to improve would be subject to increasingly tough corrective actions. These can include: replacing school staff, significantly decreasing management authority at the school level, restructuring, which involves a fundamental change in governance, such as a State takeover or placement under private management. To help States, districts, and schools carry out needed improvements, NCLB significantly increases and makes mandatory the reservation of a portion of Part A allocations for school improvement.