Title I - Improving Programs Operated by Local School Districts
Title I is ESSA’s most well-known section and the section that contains the most money for states to support the education of low-income students. Under Title I, the Department of Education provides funds to states with a high number of students from low-income families and schools with a history of lower academic performance to help close the achievement gap. Once at the state level, Title I funds are distributed to school districts and schools that meet the criteria to access these funds.
What Your State is Required to Do under ESSA
Set long term academic goals for all students and for different groups of students
Develop rigorous tests/assessments for all students grade 3-8 and high school; states must require that 95% of students take these assessments
Create a system to hold schools accountable for the progress of all students
Create a system to identify low performing schools and describe how it will support struggling schools. The law requires that all data collected be disaggregated by subgroup
Set minimum performance standards across schools and specifically for subgroups
Creates a response system and timeline to address low performing subgroups
Questions You Should Be Asking
Under ESSA states must create an accountability system to hold schools responsible for student performance. These are some questions you should be asking school leadership:
What are the long term and interim (short term) goals for students?
What are the goals for high school graduation?
What are the goals for performance on state wide exams in reading and math?
What are the goals for English learners to master the language?
Did my state set more aggressive goals for groups of students that are already behind?
What measures or indicators is my state using to evaluate schools?
Will the performance of students of color be included in my state’s school grading system?
How will my state identify schools that need improvement?
What will my state do to assist schools in need of improvement?
Why This is Important to the National Urban League
We are committed to the academic achievement of all students and believe that states must create systems that hold school districts accountable for identifying low-performing schools and placing the necessary supports to improve graduation rates, improving scores on state assessments and offer challenging coursework.
Far too often, historically underserved students attend schools that fail them. Under Title I, we believe there is an opportunity to make a positive change in today’s culture of labeling “bad schools” without making the effort to reform them and provide a high-quality education to the students who attend them.