Economically Disadvantaged Students-Title I

Before 1965

  • Federal aid to education was often controversial at local and state levels.
  • In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education overturned the separate-but-equal doctrine and found that segregated schools violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • In 1958, as a response to the U.S.S.R.'s launching of Sputnik, the National Defense Education Act provided federal funding for improved science, foreign language, and math education, mostly at the college level.
  • "Impact aid" was provided for school districts in which the presence of federal installations (e.g., military bases) increased school enrollment but did not contribute to the tax base.
  • The school lunch program was established.
  • The federal government provided some funding for Native American children attending Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.
  • Issues of segregation and aid to private schools thwarted efforts to enact federal education aid.

1965: A Watershed in Federal Education Policy

  • In 1965, Congress approved Head Start and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program. ESEA specifically directed Title I funding to opportunities for disadvantaged students; however, with few legal restrictions, funds were spent for a wide range of purposes.
  • In 1970, legislation required that Title I schools receive state and local support "comparable" to that received by other schools. It also prohibited states from simply substituting federal funding for state and local funding.
  • In 1974, parent advisory councils were required at the school and district levels.
  • In 1978, new federal rules specified how districts must rank schools for inclusion in Title I. The federal commissioner of education was authorized to withhold funds from districts that violated the rules.
  • In 1981, under President Ronald Reagan, Title I was rewritten and renamed "Chapter 1" of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act. The law relaxed rules on comparability of funding and selection of schools, reduced paperwork and monitoring requirements, and essentially eliminated parent involvement mandates.
  • The Hawkins-Stafford Act of 1988 began to tie Title I to accountability for student performance.
  • The emphasis on accountability increased in the 1994 Improving America's Schools Act.
  • Under the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, the thrust of Title I broadened to support improved educational outcomes for all students, while maintaining the commitment to close achievement gaps between disadvantaged students and others.

The Impact of Title I

Over the past forty years, Title I has had a mixed impact on the educational outcomes of economically disadvantaged children. Research indicates that improvement in the attainments of children in Title I programs has not yet accomplished many of the legislation's original goals. This is attributable to a variety of factors:

  • Poorly designed programs in local schools
  • Increased concentration of economically distressed minorities in cities
  • Decreased resources for supporting quality education
  • Political quarrels about federal funding and control of education

The issue of "separate and unequal" schools remains a problem in American education as suburban schools continue to be well-funded and urban schools suffer from inadequate funding and political division.

Selected bibliography of published materials