Thursday, September 22, 2016

John Thompson Education reform: Title I funds only part of the solution - NonDoc

Education reform: Title I funds only part of the solution - NonDoc:

Education reform: Title I funds only part of the solution

Title I

I described the complexities of school funding and why the simplistic criticisms of local and state education systems are unjustified in a previous post here on NonDoc. The same applies to the 12 percent or so of funding that comes from the federal government.
Federal policies are flawed, but we should not be too quick to judge. It makes no more sense to bash the Feds than it does to issue a blanket condemnation of state and local government. However, we can’t ignore the headaches that their regulations can create for school systems. Moreover, the mandates that have accompanied federal money during the last few years have become exceptionally costly in terms of the energy educators have devoted to meeting those dubious demands.

Title I money …

When the federal government began to make significant investments in schools, it faced a dilemma that remains intractable in many ways. The most important program was Title I, and it sought to redress longstanding inequities. Unless the national government engaged in micromanaging, how could it prevent localities from diverting this new money to other programs? The most famous example was that of Claiborne Parish in Louisiana, which had a child poverty rate of 36 percent and infamously used its Title I funds “to build not one, but two Olympic-sized swimming pools for students.”
Consequently, the key principle that guided Title I was supplement not supplant. Federal money was to be treated as an additional resource for disadvantaged students and not used to replace existing funding for general-education students.
(By the way, a second huge controversy is known as “comparability.” Since veteran teachers tend to become exhausted and transfer out of high-poverty schools, those schools tend to have less experienced teachers with lower salaries, meaning that less money, per student, is often invested in poor schools. All stakeholders would support extra resources to address that unfair reality, but teachers have to worry that the current Education reform: Title I funds only part of the solution - NonDoc:

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