Center for American Progress Explains Title I's Loophole

Posted by Nikhil Swaminathan

nullTitle I, part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (most recently known as No Child Left Behind) that was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, is supposed to guarantee parity of resources between schools in a district. If one school is in a higher poverty area than another, district officials are supposed to use non-federal funds to close that gap and make sure those schools are at a comparable baseline.

But, it's well known that local authorities don't do this. And you can see that born out in the persistent achievement gap in performance between low income and minority students and their more affluent peers.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) put out a video this week explaining the loophole in Title I, Part A, which administrators have used to keep low income schools from getting the money they rightly deserve. Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) introduced a bill in late-April to close that loophole.

In addition to the video, the CAP explaining that closing this loophole along with an Obama administration to make sure every student is taught be effective teachers will not mean that there will be forcible reassignment of teachers from low poverty schools to high poverty ones. For one thing, the Fattah bill specifically disallows that practice as a means of achieving equity.

Further, according to the CAP article:

 

First, the disastrous effect that such a move would have on staff morale is almost palpable. Why would officials keen to improve student achievement purposefully alienate their most potent weapons in the battle, especially when other districts are happy enough to hire effective defectors?   Second, and more importantly, district officials are currently hard-pressed to identify their highly effective teachers. Virtually all teachers are rated as satisfactory or above in districts’ performance evaluation systems, and a reliable and valid means of identifying effective teachers through a combination of value-added estimates, observations of practice, and other technologies has yet to be rolled out on a large scale. The main thrust of any proposal to improve equity in the distribution of effective teachers is for this reason mostly about getting a handle on which teachers are effective and where they teach.

See, district officials couldn't simply send the better teachers to bad schools because they have no means of properly identifying which instructors are the superior ones! Unfortunately, for me at least, that isn't a very comforting irony.