Title I, Compensatory Education at the Crossroads

Title I, Compensatory Education at the Crossroads

Title I, Compensatory Education at the Crossroads

Title I, Compensatory Education at the Crossroads

Synopsis

This volume presents the most recent research on Title I federal compensatory education programs. Over the past three decades, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has served as the cornerstone of the federal commitment to equality of opportunity. It is the federal government's single largest investment in America's schools. As Title I begins a new century, this book documents the program's history and points to the potential for its future, building on 35 years of research, development, and practical experience. The research and analysis it provides fills a void for systematic information that can help inform Title I education policies and practices. Title I: Compensatory Education at the Crossroads is essential reading for educational researchers and students working in the areas of social stratification and equity-minded policies, programs, and practices. It will serve well as a text for graduate courses on these topics in education, as well as in public policy, sociology, and psychology. Educational policymakers and administrators at the federal, state, and local levels who are concerned with Title I and programs for students placed at risk will find it an important resource in crafting policies and programs for this population of students.

Excerpt

Since the 1960s, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has served as the cornerstone of the federal commitment to equality of opportunity. Funded at more than $8 billion per year and serving more than 10 million students, the program is the federal government's single largest investment in America's schools (Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, 1999). Evidence suggests that Title I has played important roles in narrowing the within-state revenue gaps between high-and low-income areas (Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, 1999), in improving disadvantaged students' educational outcomes (Borman & D'Agostino, 1996), and in inspiring localities to upgrade their schools and programs for poor and minority children (Peterson, Rabe, & Wong, 1986).

Currently, Title I and the pursuit of educational equality stand at important crossroads. Although nearly half a century has passed since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, separate and unequal schooling persists for many American children (Kozol, 1991). The future of mandated integration appears imperiled, as school boards and courts across the country have been reversing their positions on school desegregation (Orfield, Eaton, & The Harvard Project on School Desegregation, 1997). The tremendous progress during the 1970s and early 1980s toward closing the achievement gaps between African American and White students has been followed by sobering national evidence suggesting that these gaps are now widening (Grissmer, Kirby, Berends, & Williamson, 1994). Similarly, a recent meta-analysis of Title I and student achievement indicates that during the 1970s and early 1980s, the effects of Title I programs for the disadvantaged improved (Borman & D'Agostino, 1996). However, since the late 1980s, the outcomes for Title I students have plateaued (Borman & D'Agostino, 1996).

The Title I legislation, authorized for periods of 5 years, is scheduled to expire in the 1999–2000 congressional sessions. What should be the appearance of the newly reauthorized Title I? Are there new policies that may improve its effectiveness? As policymakers respond to these important questions, they have little systematic information from which to draw. In this volume, we present evidence and theory that explain both the positive trend for Title I effects and the more recent leveling of this trend in program outcomes. We document the finding that, overall, Title I has had a modest positive impact on student achievement, but we also argue that it can and should do much more.

To help begin narrowing the achievement gaps once again, we suggest that Title I programs across the country adopt research-proven strategies for the substantial improvement of their schools and the achievements of . . .

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