Title I: Did You Know….

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The No Child Left Behind act requires public school districts to provide Title I services to eligible public and private school students.

Title I Overview

This is the part of No Child Left Behind that supports programs in schools and school districts to improve the learning of children from low-income families. The U.S. Department of Education provides Title I funds to states to give to school districts based on the number of children from low-income families in each district.

US Department of Education Audit of ODE

The US Department of Education audit on Oregon’s Title I program in 2008 produced many findings centered on accountability.  Among other things, there was an almost complete absence of oversight in how some Oregon districts handle services to private school children.  The findings listed below are taken directly from the Title I report (emphasis mine).

Finding (1): The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has not ensured that its LEAs (school districts) maintain control of the Title I program for eligible private school children and their families and teachers. For example:

  • As part of the process for selecting a third-party provider in PPS, private school officials meet with potential providers without district officials present.
  • PPS provides its third-party providers with a list of possible criteria to use to select students for services, but leaves it to the third-party provider and private school officials to decide which criteria are actually used.
  • PPS gives the third-party provider and the private schools the responsibility of deciding the types of services (i.e., reading or math) that students selected for services receive and how the services will be evaluated.
  • In Woodburn School District (WSD) the private school officials develop the plan for services, the selection criteria, and how the services will be evaluated.

Finding (2): The ODE has not ensured that its districts have consistently met the requirements for consultation with private school officials regarding: (1) the method or sources of data the district will use to determine the number of private school children from low-income families residing in participating public school attendance areas; and (2) the evaluation of the Title I program for private school children.  PPS tells interested private school officials to report free and reduced priced lunch data in October without first consulting with them concerning the different options that may be used to obtain data on low-income students.  PPS’s affirmation form does not include this topic.  In both PPS and WSD the third-party contractor designs the evaluation of the Title I program for private school children.  Neither LEA has determined in consultation with private school officials how the Title I program for private school children will be evaluated, what the agreed upon standards are, and how annual progress will be measured.

Finding (3): The ODE has not ensured that its LEAs have consistently exercised proper oversight in awarding contracts for the provision of Title I services to participating private school children.  A contract that PPS has with a third-party vendor to provide services to participating private school children did not have enough detail to enable PPS to determine that the Title I statutory and regulatory requirements are being met.  The contract has not broken out the specific amount for administration, instruction, family involvement, and professional development that the vendor is charging.

PPS’ handling of Title I services to private school children is the equivalent of handing private schools a check and walking away.  Where is the accountability for that?  Unfortunately, this is typical of how PPS manages its money.  District staff consistently argue that questioned expenses are just a small portion of their budget.  They don’t get it that the pennies add up.

The PPS 2009/10 budget includes $20.2 million in Title I funds PLUS $14.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.  PPS reports that the ARRA funds will be targeted towards: standards and assessment; data systems; teacher effectiveness; and support for lowest performing schools.

Schools need the money but they need to use it effectively.  Don’t let the district piss the money away.


TAKE ACTION – You have a right to know how your child’s school is spending their money.  Find out if your child’s school is a Title I school.  If so, here are some questions (ask any or all) that you should ask your school principal:

  1. How much has the school been allocated in Title I funding?
  2. How much in funds did the school carryover from last year?
  3. Who was involved in completing the School Improvement Plan (SIP)?
  4. Request a copy of the School Improvement Plan or schedule a time to review it.
  5. Is the school required to provide supplemental services (individualized help for struggling students)?  If so, who is the provider?  What services are provided?
  6. Is the School Improvement Plan and budget aligned?
  7. What parent involvement activities are included in the School Improvement Plan?

Don’t worry about whether you’ll understand all of it.  Most parents don’t understand it.  You’ll get it over time.  The important thing is to ask questions and always follow-up.

If you need help with any of the information you collect, you can email me by going to the About page or you can post questions on this blog.  There’s a very supportive online community of parents with tons of expertise and various perspectives.

SourcedFrom Sourced from: Cheating in Class

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Carrie Adams blogs at Cheating in Class.

filed under: National, No Child Left Behind, Title I

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2 Responses

  1. Comment from John B. Tang:

    Dear Carrie: Did you explore the relationship between ESL and Title I. My understanding is that many ESL students should be receiving Title I services since many of them are also low-income. So my question is: Have ESL students and families received Title I services in the past? How will Title I and the ARRA money benefit ESL students and families? And how does PPS account for ARRA money? Did PPS do a research into how to best use this money? Who needs this the most? How fair was the money distributed? And who will be the watchdog to ensure equitable distribution as well as to ensure accurate reporting to the government. Finally, was there a public process to include public input to how this money should be spent?

  2. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    John Tang – Years ago, most Title I schools were Targeted Assistance schools meaning individual children were identified for support services and Title I resources were only to be used for those children.

    Now, most Title I schools operate under the schoolwide model where schools are able to co-mingle funds (Title I, ESL, TAG, SPED…)

    “Section 1114 of Title I of the ESEA allows a school in which 40 percent or more of its students are
    from low-income families to use its Title I funds, along with other Federal, State, and local funds, to
    operate a schoolwide program to upgrade the entire educational program in the school to improve the
    academic performance of all students, particularly the lowest-achieving students. [Section 1114(a)(1)]”

    I’m sure ESL students have been served (obviously not well served) under Title I in the past.

    Your questions about accountability are good but need to be directed to PPS staff.

    You have a right to access all of the information you mentioned. When my oldest child was in middle school, I requested a report showing monthly Title I expenses. The district will try to disuade you by stalling or charging you for copies but you can get the information.

    PPS administrators recently changed the name of the Title I department to “Funded Programs.” Be highly suspicious of that. There’s so much co-mingling of funds already that it’s difficult to follow the money.

    Parents and community members would benefit from educating themselves about the use of federal funds.

    The following link provides guidance on the use of Title I funds: http://www.ed.gov/programs/tit.....alguid.pdf