Cross-Cutting Guidance for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - September 1996

A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n


Using ESEA resources in an integrated way to promote school reform and higher student achievement entails a different way of thinking about federal funding, one that may go against the grain of long-held perceptions, administrative and accounting practices, and past federal policies. In this companion document and in other ESEA guidance, the U.S. Department of Education is signaling that we have entered a new age for federal education programs. Three decades of experience with federal programs and nearly two decades of active State education reforms have resulted in new understandings and changes in philosophy. These in turn have wrought changes in legislation.

As some of the examples in this document illustrate, the necessity for improvement is often the mother of invention. Some of the most forward-thinking strategies mentioned above grew out of a negative wakeup call, in the form of poor test scores or a threat of State intervention. Similarly, a positive nudge, such as a new authority to consolidate plans or the expanded schoolwide program option, can generate a whole new mindset.

Appreciating the difficulty of comprehensive reform, the Department stands ready to assist States and school districts with technical assistance, guidance on what is permitted under law, publications, and other resources. But ultimately the effectiveness of ESEA programs will depend on sustained commitment at the State, district, and school level. The process is sometimes frustrating, and the road to reform is often long, but the rewards for our children are inestimable.

[Theme 5. Resources Targeted to Areas with Greatest Needs] [Table of Contents] [Appendix B]