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

Theme 5. Resources Targeted to Areas with Greatest Needs, in Amounts Sufficient to Make a Difference

A basic premise of standards-based reform is that one cannot choose between equity and excellence. Without excellence there will be no equity, since students will be denied the right to reach their potential and take advantage of opportunities; and without equitable access to quality education, an educational system can hardly be deemed excellent. ESEA contains several provisions to ensure equitable distribution of resources, equitable participation of private school students in federal programs, and equitable involvement of children with special needs in education reforms.

* Targeting resources. Helping all children achieve to high standards entails additional funding targeted at the students most in need. Although the goal of greater targeting of resources was only partially fulfilled in the reauthorized ESEA, the law contains several important provisions to improve targeting. For example:

* Participation of private school children. Since the inception of the ESEA, private school children have been included in Title I and other programs. The 1994 amendments continue to require States and school districts to provide for equitable participation of private school children.

* Promoting equity. Ensuring equity in teaching and learning for the children with the greatest educational needs is a primary goal of the ESEA. As the preceding sections illustrate, many federal programs--first and foremost Title I--focus on helping children with special needs participate in enriching educational programs and meet challenging standards. Other provisions of the ESEA also aim to promote equity in education.


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