Improving America's Schools Act

The Improving America's Schools Act (IASA) was passed by the 103rd Congress in 1994. Its intent was to extend for a five-year period aspects of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as well as other educational functions. The first section of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 deals with the correct way to cite the name of the act. The second section comprises 14 titles under the act. Titles are broken down further into parts and, in some instances, subparts.

The first title involves helping disadvantaged children meet high standards. Subsections (a) to (f) detail how this is carried out. The functions include improving basic programs operated by local educational agencies and list requirements, allocations and grants. Family literacy programs; education of children on the move; and prevention and intervention programs for delinquent or neglected children and youth, and those at risk of dropping out, form part of the program requirements. The act details eligibility, funding and accountability for programs that are run by the state or by local agencies. Additional details of this section refer to federal evaluations, demonstrations of innovative practice and transition projects, as well as general provisions relating to regulatory procedure.

Title II, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Program, involves authorized programs to improve learning and national teacher-training projects as part of federal, state and local activities. Grants, plans and technical assistance fall under the rubric of professional development demonstration projects, with general provisions relating to definitions, reporting and accountability.

Technology for Education, Title III, contains six parts dealing with matters of technology for the education of all students. There are allowances for a star school's program and educational television programs. A telecommunications demonstration project for mathematics, a science equipment program and a library media resources program are additional categories of this section.

The fourth title, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities, deals with grants to prevent drug abuse and violence. The fifth promotes equity with magnet schools assistance, women's educational opportunities and assistance to address issues of school dropout.

State and local programs to initiate innovative educational strategies form the sixth title. Title VII relates to bilingual education, language enhancement and language acquisition programs. Part (a) of the bilingual educational concern relates to Native American and Alaska native children. The next four parts refer to foreign-language assistance, emergency immigrant education programs and the administration and general provisions thereof.

Federal details relating to finances, policies and procedures are contained in impact aid, the eighth title. Title IX comprises three parts with relation to Indian, native Hawaiian and Alaskan native education.

Programs of national significance comprise the Title X, with 12 parts detailing relevant aspects. These include funds for the improvement of education such as school counseling, athletic competitions, smaller learning communities and other model projects. Talented or gifted children, public charter schools and arts in education are dealt with, as well as affordable book distribution and civic education. The Allen J. Ellender Fellowship program and the De Lungo Territorial Education Improvement program are also included here. In addition, this section comprises details for 21st century community learning centers, urban and rural education assistance, national writing projects and extended time for learning and a longer school year.

The final four titles are listed as coordinated services, school facilities infrastructure improvement act, support and assistance programs to improve education and finally, general provisions. The latter involves definitions, flexibility with regard to the use of funds, coordination of programs and waivers. Uniform provisions are also taken into account, as is gun possession.

The Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 ends with provisions for amendments, national education statistics and other miscellaneous issues.

The successor of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. Both have the primary purpose of promotion and improvement of the quality of education. Federal and state aid is applied to effect this end. An enhancement of academic standards through rigorous testing methods, increased accountability, specialized programs and placing highly qualified educators in teaching positions in the schools are crucial components stated in the act. The goal is creating a positive educational reform to elevate levels of learning in an innovative and inclusive way according to the highest standards.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

School's In: Federalism and the National Education Agenda
Paul Manna.
Georgetown University Press, 2006
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Improving America's Schools Act begins on p. 110
Large-Scale Assessment Programs for All Students: Validity, Technical Adequacy, and Implementation
Gerald Tindal; Thomas M. Haladyna.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Improving America's Schools Act begins on p. 344
Race, Poverty, and American Cities
John Charles Boger; Judith Welch Wegner.
University of North Carolina Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Improving America's Schools Act begins on p. 476
Children of Intercountry Adoptions in School: A Primer for Parents and Professionals
Ruth Lyn Meese.
Bergin & Garvey, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Improving America's Schools Act begins on p. 117
Children of the Road: Migrant Students, Our Nation's Most Mobile Population
Branz-Spall, Angela Maria; Rosenthal, Roger; Wright, Al.
The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 72, No. 1, Winter 2003
Handbook of Psychological Services for Children and Adolescents
Jan N. Hughes; Annette M. La Greca; Jane Close Conoley.
Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)" begins on p. 76
Historical Dictionary of American Education
Richard J. Altenbaugh.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)" begins on p. 125
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