In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson authored Title 1 funds as part of his War on Poverty policy. Currently, the program is associated with Title 1, Part A of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. Title 1 funds provide federal sponsorship to school districts for support personnel, classroom materials, and student clothing sponsorship. In estimating funding, the project targets a certain population: economically disadvantaged students, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (Bajak et al., 2020).
The U.S. Department of Education affirms that Title 1 was developed to guarantee that underprivileged students obtain a just, yet high-quality education by bridging gaps in educational achievement. This funding is considered the largest federal assistance program to public schools all over the country (Spivey, n.d.).
So, what are Title 1 schools? You can learn more about these schools, their funding, eligibility requirements, and more in this article.
First, what does a Title 1 school mean? A school consisting of a lower-income student population is given Title 1 sponsorship to aid students who are behind or have high chances to fall behind.
Through state educational agencies (SEAs), the financial aid is delivered to local educational agencies (LEAs) and public schools (Clark, 2019).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2018 and 2019 Annual Social and Economic Supplement
Title 1 schools throughout the country provide additional educational support to students. Such support goes beyond the traditional classroom, helping low-income students satisfy state requirements in basic pedagogical subjects. They organize and consolidate services and materials from federal, state, and local sources. At least 40% of the students must be identified as low-income to be eligible for Title 1 school funding.
What do Title 1 schools get? Title 1 funds provide more than $14 billion annually to school systems nationwide for poverty-stricken students or students who are living near poverty.
Pediatrics‘ 2019 article “Poverty and Early Childhood Outcomes” probes the relationships among the different results and poverty levels at different points during a child’s initial five years. Leslie L. Ross, et al. begin by describing how poverty affects students at an early age and later in life. “Children born into poverty face significant challenges. Family difficulties are likely to result in poor educational, social, and health outcomes. Poverty is associated with various factors that lead to poor academic achievement, including atypical structural development, limited language development, and a greater likelihood of experiencing food insecurity. Lack of school readiness predicts later cognitive problems and adult psychosocial adjustment.”
The targeted assistance school program and the schoolwide program are the two available programs for Title 1 schools. Both programs strive to enhance teaching and learning to let students meet the learning requirements. The requirements to achieve this goal are:
The targeted assistance school program is provided to schools that do not comply with the schoolwide program’s 40% low-income student threshold. Title 1 teachers only offer services to selected students. The financial aid can only be used to offer services to selected students who exhibit a significant need for academic assistance.
The Title 1 schoolwide program aims to reform the full academic program in Title 1 schools, thus increasing educational achievement for all the students. This program is provided to schools that have at least a 40% student population from low-income households. The main objective is to guarantee that all children, specifically the disadvantaged ones, will showcase at least proficient achievement levels.
There are no differences between employees compensated with Title 1 assets and those who are not. All school employees must do their best to improve the overall academic program and student achievement, specifically the low-achieving ones. According to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all schoolwide projects that wish to be continuously granted with funds must carry out a needs assessment and a suitable plan and perform a yearly program review.
Schools administering schoolwide programs cater to all students to enhance student achievement. They do not have to select particular students as all enrolled students are qualified to benefit from the Title 1 services, which include firsthand directives from employees compensated with Title 1 funds. A report showing that Part A funds are being used on services to unqualified students is not mandated.
Schoolwide programs can use their Title 1 aid in multiple ways, but they need to take part in improvement approaches that boost learning time and quality and deliver an outstanding curriculum (Clark, 2019).
The ESSA states that all teaching personnel of Title 1 schools, as well as paraprofessionals, must be highly eligible and experienced. For areas with serious needs, a unique process must be observed and done.
Teachers instruct, while paraprofessional academics support and supervise students, assist teachers, and augment traditional classroom programs with more activities or offer managerial guidance for teaching.
Licensed teachers in other subjects and paraprofessionals may supplement instructional activities but not the actual instruction. The involvement of parents is also a vital element of day-to-day Title 1 school operations.
Reading and math tests have serious implications for schools, most especially those that cater to the disadvantaged group. If results turn out bad, the reputation of the school will also gain a bad image. Many parents now ask: Are Title 1 schools bad? (Nicolas, 2018).
The link between academic underachievement and poverty is real, and this is where competent and skilled teachers and school personnel come into the picture. Title 1 teachers are required to be aptly licensed for the grade and content, whether the program is targeted assistance or schoolwide.
Meanwhile, all paraprofessionals are required to comply with ESSA criteria to be qualified both for Title 1 targeted assistance and schoolwide program. A paraprofessional must earn a high school diploma and two years of college education or an associate’s degree or have satisfied certain standards. He or she must also be able to exemplify knowledge of and the capacity to support the teaching of reading, writing, and math (Clark, 2019).
The Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is hailed as the most advantageous forgiveness option for teachers. Teachers are qualified for an instant principal reduction of $5,000 to $17,000 on their loans and finish forgiveness after 10 years. Any balance will also be forgiven after the 10-year term. The 10-year forgiveness is a component of the public service loan forgiveness program. However, teachers mostly qualify and gain benefits from both programs (Wadia, 2019).
Qualified teachers and Title 1 teachers are qualified for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. Some of the requirements include:
If one’s school or academic service company satisfies the requirements for a minimum of one year of teaching service but does not satisfy these requirements throughout the four succeeding years, the succeeding years of teaching may be considered regarding the mandated five years of teaching (Clark, 2019).
Schools that will qualify for Title 1 funds are selected by the federal poverty census information. The amount of funds that a school will receive depends on its population of low-income students.
LEAs administer the Title 1 funds they obtain to public schools where most low-income students reside.
Source: EducationData.org, 2021
Title 1 funds can be used for the advancement of academic programs, teaching activities, counseling, parental participation, staff employment, and so on. The funding aims to support schools in achieving the academic goals of low-income students. The U.S. Department of Education claims that Title 1 funds usually prompt further teaching of reading and math.
Title 1 programs carry out services that strengthen the traditional classroom program. These services are:
Private school students who reside in Title 1 school attendance areas or manifest educational needs can also benefit from the Title 1 funds.
Migrants, children with little English skills, homeless children, children with disabilities, abandoned children, delinquent children, at-risk children, or any children in need are also considered for the funding.
Children who perform poorly in their studies, are delayed a grade for one or more years, or are homeless are all deemed at-risk (Clark, 2019).
Title 1 funding works toward helping disadvantaged children progress along with others (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.). Check out the estimated ESEA Title 1 LEA allocations per state as of 2019.
This April, President Joe Biden issued a financial blueprint for the coming year. The blueprint orders Congress to increase the funding of the U.S. Department of Education by over 40%. Title 1 funding for low-income schools would increase by $20 billion, the largest year-over-year growth since the creation of the program in 1965. At the same time, there have been proposals to invest in special education, community schools, school counselors, cheap housing, and health care while offering Pell Grants to Dreamers.
National Educational Association President Becky Pringle said that President Biden and his administration are fulfilling their promise to improve the lives of the country’s most vulnerable households by providing funding that genuinely prioritizes them. Indeed, Title 1 investment is a continued devotion to creating a better nation for everyone through education (National Education Association, 2021).