Strengthening Title I To Help High-Poverty Schools: How Title I Funds Fit Into District Allocation Patterns

August 2005

Drawing on data from five large school districts, this report reveals that the nation's main program for educating the disadvantaged, Title I, is hampered by loopholes that prevent it from fulfilling its mission. The study found that despite Title I language requiring that aid reach schools in impoverished neighborhoods, in practice the grant flows into district funding systems favoring the rich.

The findings detailed in the report lead to two basic recommendations for how to strengthen Title I to better serve disadvantaged children:

  • Require districts to account for salary differences between schools. Districts are currently allowed to average the salaries.
  • Require districts to provide equitable resources, in actual dollars, to each school before Title I funds are brought to bear.

These reforms would not only improve the distribution of the $13 billion annually spent on Title I, but also would start to leverage a more fair and effective distribution of the rest of the nation's $455 billion in annual school spending.

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