Title I: Everything You Need to Know

This is the federal legislation that provides funds towards the improvement of the education of children from low-income backgrounds. Title I was created to help close academic gaps and ensure economically disadvantaged students get an equitable, fair, and high-quality education.

Title I isn’t the only federal funding stream. There are other ‘Title’ funds – from I-VII, the goals of which are to help students who have burdens that may obstruct their access to an equitable education. These burdens include homelessness, poverty, living in remote rural districts, living in state-run institutions, and those who’re still learning the English language. For students with disabilities, there’s a separate funding stream.

For schools in America, Title I is the biggest federal aid package. Though almost all of it goes to public schools, students opting for homeschooling or enrolled in private schools are also eligible. Title I began as part of the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) of 1965 during President Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Later, the bill was reauthorized as NCLB (No Child Left Behind) during the George W. Bush administration and then as the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) during the Obama administration.

According to Title I, equitable funding isn’t just the responsibility of individual states. Rather, it’s the federal government’s responsibility too. Since low-income students in public schools are disadvantaged because they may not enjoy all the educational benefits their peers from higher-income families have, Title I funding aims to provide them with equitable education. 

The intention is that with the extra support such additional funding will bring, these can meet high academic standards as required by federal law. However, the actual amount of Title I money that schools for low-income students get is minimal, almost 5% of annual per-pupil spending, though it differs based on geography.

To find which students belong to the low-income groups, the federal government gives schools the following five options, where schools can utilize the:

·         number of school-age children categorized as “low-income” in the latest census;

·         number of children who are eligible for reduced and free lunch under the National School Lunch Program;

·         number of children who get Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);

·         number of children entitled to Medicaid; or

·         Community Eligibility Provision.

At present, over 50% of all school students in America receive Title I funds. This is almost 25 million students in about 60% of public schools in America.

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