Title I1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) is the largest federally funded education program. The purpose of Title I is to give schools with high concentrations of children living in poverty the funds to provide special assistance for children who are not achieving well academically or who are at-risk of educational failure. In 1994, Congress overhauled Title I through the "Improving America’s Schools Act" (IASA).2 Congress rewrote the law to ensure that Title I programs are in line with the standards-based education reforms taking place in general education. The revised law emphasises educationally disadvantaged students must be educated according to the same high standards established for all students. To accomplish this purpose, Title I requires states to:
Types of Title I programs
There are two types of Title I programs at the school level: school-wide programs and targeted-assistance programs. In schoolwide programs, Title I money is used to upgrade the entire school’s educational program so that the overall education of ALL children who attend the school can be improved. To qualify as a Title I school-wide program, at least 50 percent of the students must be considered low-income. In Title I school-wide programs, all children, including those with disabilities and children with limited English proficiency, are eligible to receive Title I services.
In contrast, Title I money in targeted-assistanceprograms may only be used to provide services to eligible children identified as having the greatest need for special assistance. Children with disabilities who are failing or at risk of failing to meet standards are eligible for Title I assistance. Schools receiving targeted-assistance money either have less than 50 percent of their population in poverty or choose to fund extra services for those students who are most educationally disadvantaged.
A targeted-assistance school may not use its Title I funds to pay for services that are mandated under other laws—local, state, or federal (such as IDEA or Title VII). However, a targeted-assistance school may use its Title I funds to coordinate and supplement the services that individual children with disabilities or limited English proficiency (LEP) status are already receiving.
The purpose of assessments is to measure the extent to which children are reaching the standards. States receiving Title I funds must develop assessments based on the state content and performance standards. These assessments are not to make high-stakes decisions about individual children, but to keep track of how well districts and schools are enabling Title I students to meet standards. All Title I students are to participate, including students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency.4 Consistent with the requirements of IDEA, schools must provide students with disabilities with accommodations needed to participate in the assessments. The IEP must address the need for accommodations. Reports detailing the results of these assessments provide a look at who is being well served under Title I, and where efforts need to be targeted to improve the program.
Accountability and Improvement
Title I requires states to develop a definition of "Adequate Yearly Progress." This definition is used to determine whether or not particular schools and districts are making satisfactory progress toward enabling students to meet the standards. The progress of students with disabilities must be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of a school or district. The state must then identify districts that are not making sufficient progress and require corrective action steps.
Title I has a strong emphasis on parent involvement. Under IDEA, parent involvement is, for the most part, tied to planning about individual children. Title I, in addition to addressing the needs of individual children, Title I requires meaningful parent involvement in the design and implementation of entire school programs. Parents of students with disabilities may use Title I’s strong parent involvement requirements to ensure that schools are organized and run so that the rights of students with disabilities are respected, children having difficulty becoming proficient in particular areas as identified, and that an effective process for addressing the needs of individual children having such difficulty is in place.
In addition to participating in their own childrens education, Title I envisions parent participation in each of three levels of decisionmaking: state, district, and school.
Parent Involvement at the State Level
State plans must be developed in consultation with parents.
Parent Involvement at the District Level
District Parental Involvement Policy
School districts must work with parents to reach agreement on a parent involvement policy which describes how the district will:
Parent Involvement at the School Level
School Parental Involvement Policy
Each school that receives Title I money must have a written parental involvement policy, jointly developed and approved by parents, that describes how the school plans to carry out the requirements of the law. The school should ensure that parents of children with disabilities help to develop the policy which must ensure that the school will:
Each school receiving Title
I funds must also develop, with parents, a school-parent compact that outlines
how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility
for improving student achievement and reaching the state’s high standards.
Again, the school should ensure that parents of children with disabilities
assist in developing the school-parent compact.
Title I requires high quality
programs to be created and implemented to ensure that all students, in
particular, students who are disadvantaged, can acquire the knowledge and
skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Title I, with its commitment
to high standards and schoolwide reform, provides another important tool
to ensure that students with disabilities who participate in Title I schools
or programs receive the benefits of school reform.
1 20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq. Between 1981 and 1994 the program was called "Chapter 1."
2 The Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA), Public Law 103-382, fundamentally restructured all parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), including Title I, to support comprehensive state and local reform of teaching and learning.
3 See 20 U.S.C. 6301(d).
4 Language Assessments: Students with limited English proficiency (LEP) must be assessed in their native language. The law requires states to identify the languages for which student assessments are needed and not available. States may request help from the U.S. Department of Education if linguistically accessible assessment measures are needed. 20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(5).
Information in this Fact
Sheet is based on the PEER Information Brief , "Title I: Tools
for Ensuring Quality Educational Opportunities" by Carolyn A. Romano, J.D.
Back to Every Single Student Home
Download this Document in PDF Format
© Copyright 1999
The Federation for Children with Special Needs, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
This publication has
been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Department of Education, Office
of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). Funding for this
publication was provided by the Office of Special Education Programs, OSERS,
U.S. Department of Education, through grant #H029K50208.