Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Recommendations to Fix ESEA’s Title I 
Press Release

RELEASE: Recommendations to Fix ESEA’s Title I 

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress and Frederick Hess, resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, today released recommendations to fix key provisions of Title I, a component of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, that distributes funding to schools and school districts with a high percentage of students from low-income families.

The debate on reauthorizing ESEA often revolves around the law’s complex accountability mandate, overshadowing a number of important Title I requirements in need of repair. Recognizing this danger, education experts Cynthia G. Brown and Raegen Miller of the Center for American Progress and Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute collaborated to raise the public profile of a group of important but often overlooked Title I provisions by commissioning a set of seven papers from experts on various facets of Title I.

Each paper in the series describes a problem and marshals existing knowledge to construct a number of recommendations for federal policymakers. The brief released today summarizes the findings from the seven papers and details a set of recommendations jointly agreed upon by CAP and Hess.

"Title I funds have such an important purpose that we should all be bending over backwards to find common ground around transparency and efficacy,” said Cynthia G. Brown, Vice President of Education Policy at the Center for American Progress. “Our joint recommendations will help policymakers, advocates, and educators implement important changes to support our nation’s most vulnerable children."

The authors recommend the following changes to Title I:

  • Title I should simplify the manner in which states and districts demonstrate that federal Title I dollars supplement and do not supplant state and local investment in schools.
  • Districts that receive Title I funds should be required to report annually all school-level expenditures—including all dollars devoted to teacher salaries—to the Department of Education to promote transparency about how those Title I dollars are being used.
  • To receive Title I funds, states must be required to disclose per-pupil spending at the state-, district-, and school-level alongside the test-based metrics that are commonly used on school report cards.
  • School districts should be given increased flexibility to negotiate contracts with external companies that provide supplemental education services such as tutoring.
  • Alternative or outside providers should be allowed to perform duties traditionally performed by state education agencies—such as turning around a struggling school—if they are better equipped for the task and are willing to commit to meeting higher performance targets. Funding would be contingent on the results.

Read the recommendations:

To speak with a CAP expert on this topic, please contact Katie Peters at [email protected] or 202.741.6285.