Title I is one of the largest federal aid programs for school district in the United States. Begun in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his “War on Poverty”, Title I today is part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This legislation grants federal funds to school with large number of children of poverty to provide extra educational services that help students achieve at higher levels. Specifically, the objective of the Title I program is to enable all student to meet state and local student performance standards and for school to achieve other school accountability goals as set forth by the Indiana Department of Education.
The federal government provides Title I funds to Indiana each year. To obtain the funds, Indiana must submit a plan describing the academic standards children are expected to meet (i.e. Indiana Academic Standards and in the very near future Indiana Common Core Academic Standards) and how academic progress will be measured (i.e. Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress- ISTEP+). Indiana then allocates Title I funding to school corporations. The amount of money a school district receives is based on census data indicating the proportion of low-income children. Districts with the highest percentage of children from low-income families receive the most money. School corporations target the Title I funds they receive to schools with the highest percentages of children from low-income families. In addition, under Title I, participating public school corporations are required to provide supplemental education services for eligible private school students.
Nationwide, more than 50,000 public schools (approximately 12.5 million students) receive Title I funds. Title I funds may be used for children from pre-school to high school. However, most of the students served (65%) are in grades 1-6 while another 12% are in preschool and kindergarten. In Indiana, 97% of school corporations receive Title I funding. In Scott County School District 2, Title I funding is used at all four elementary schools (Johnson, Lexington, Scottsburg, and Vienna-Finley) for the students in grades K-5.
All in all, the administrators, teachers, and Title I staff work to:
- identify students most in need of educational help (regardless of income)
- measure student progress using state and local standards
- set goals for improvement
- implement research-based instructional programs that supplement regular classroom
- improve professional knowledge and skills through continuing education
- involve parents in all aspects of the school’s Title I program
Schools with poverty rates of 40% or higher are eligible to implement a school-wide. The purpose of a school-wide program is to improve student achievement throughout the entire school. Individual students are not identified as eligible to participate. Rather, every child will benefit from the added services and programs that a school-wide Title I plan can offer. All school staff focus on upgrading the entire educational program and improving the achievement of all students, particularly those who are low-achieving. In addition, a school improvement plan must be developed and implemented with the involvement of parents, teachers, and principals, and administrators. Essentially, a school-wide program helps a school do more for all of its students.
Parental involvement is a critical component of Title I legislation. Schools receiving Title I funding are obligated to implement programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents in school-related programs. Schools may also provide opportunities for parents to increase their knowledge and skills related to their children’s education. Such programs, activities, and procedures must be planned and implemented for parents of participating children.