Title I, the cornerstone of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, is the largest federal education program. It is intended to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach proficiency on challenging state academic standards and assessments. Many of the major requirements of NCLB are outlined in Title I - Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), teacher and paraprofessional requirements, accountability, sanctions for schools designated for improvement, standards and assessments, annual state report cards, professional development and parent involvement.
Title I began with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, provides federal funding for schools to help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. Services can include hiring teachers to reduce class size, tutoring, computer labs, parental involvement activities, professional development, purchase of materials and supplies pre-kindergarten programs and hiring teacher assistants or others.
What is a Title I school and what does it have to do with No Child Left Behind (NCLB)?
A Title I school is a school that receives Title I money, the largest single federal funding source for education. Title I began with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. It is intended to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach grade-level proficiency. Title I funds help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. Services can include: hiring teachers to reduce class size, tutoring, computer labs, parental involvement activities, professional development, purchase of materials and supplies, pre-kindergarten programs, and hiring teacher assistants or others.
How is Title I school funding determined?
Title I is a federal entitlement program, or non-competitive formula fund, allocated on the basis of student enrollment and census poverty and other data. The U.S. Department of Education distributes these funds to State Education Agencies (SEAs) that in turn, distribute the funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or school districts. Local school districts must allocate the funds to qualifying school campuses based on the number of low-income children in a school. Funding supports Title I School-wide Programs and Targeted Assistance Schools, depending on the level of poverty in the school and how the school wants to function. School-wide Program schools have 40 percent or more of the children on free or reduced-price lunch and go through a one-year planning process. School-wide Programs have flexibility in using their Title I funds, in conjunction with other funds in the school, to upgrade the operation of the entire school. Targeted Assistance Schools use Title I funds to focus on helping the students most at risk of academic failure on state assessments.
What about schools that don't get Title I funding, but have students on free and reduced-price lunch? Do those students get services provided by Title I funding?
The law looks at poverty by whole school, so there are poor students in some schools that don't receive Title I services. Also, funds go into a school based on poverty, but they are used to serve the students at-risk academically. The number of schools a district serves is based on the level of poverty in schools and the amount of funds available.
What happens to Title I schools that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)?
Title I schools not making AYP in the same subject (reading or mathematics) for two years in a row are identified for Title I School Improvement. In the first and subsequent years of Title I School Improvement, schools must provide students with public school choice. In the second and subsequent years of Title I School Improvement, schools must offer tutoring services to economically disadvantaged students who choose not to transfer. In the third year of Title I School Improvement, schools must take corrective actions, such as replacing school staff, implementing a new curriculum, or changing the school's internal organization structure. In the fourth year of Title I School Improvement, schools must plan for restructuring. Schools in the fifth year of Title I School Improvement must implement the restructuring plan.
How are Title I teachers and teacher assistants affected differently by the law?
All teachers of core academic subjects must be "Highly Qualified" by June 30, 2006. For instructional teacher assistants, new standards apply only to those who work in Title I schools or programs, unless the district in which they work applies the standards to all.
How does No Child Left Behind affect Title I schools differently?
Sanctions for schools that do not make AYP, deadlines for teachers in becoming "Highly Qualified," and requirements for teacher assistants are all defined differently for Title I schools.
In addition, Title I schools are required to notify parents of their rights to receive certain information. Parents may request information concerning the professional qualifications of their child's teacher(s) including the degrees held, certifications held, and whether the teacher is certified in the area he/she is teaching. Title I schools must notify parents if their child has been assigned, or has been taught for at least four consecutive weeks by a teacher who does not meet the "Highly Qualified" definition. Parents also may request information concerning whether or not their child is receiving instruction by teacher assistants, and if so, their qualifications.
The law states that parents in Title I schools:
· Must be a part of developing a written parent involvement policy that is distributed to all parents and to the local community and announced at an annual meeting.
· Have a right to be involved in the planning and implementation of the parent involvement program in their school.
· Can receive materials and training for parents and staff to foster greater parent involvement.
Must have the opportunity to jointly develop, with school staff, a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents will build and develop a partnership to help children achieve the state's high standards.
Do schools consistently missing AYP in the same subject face sanctions if they do not receive Title I funding?
No. Non-Title I schools that do not make AYP do not face sanctions, but must amend their School Improvement Plans to indicate how they will improve. All public schools are affected by NCLB's testing requirements, "Highly Qualified" teacher standards, reporting to and notifying parents and the public, and AYP accountability.
What is a School Improvement Plan?
A School Improvement Plan includes strategies for improving student performance, how and when improvements will be implemented, use of state funds, requests for waivers, etc. Plans are in effect for no more than three years.