Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies - April 1996

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


The Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-382) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The purpose of the reauthorized ESEA is to improve teaching and learning for all children to enable them to meet challenging academic content and student performance standards. The reauthorized ESEA complements the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act by supporting state and local education reform efforts and promoting coordination of resources to improve education for all students.

Title I of the ESEA is designed to help disadvantaged children meet challenging content and student performance standards. Part A of Title I provides financial assistance through State educational agencies (SEAs) to local educational agencies (LEAs) to meet the educational needs of children who are failing or most at risk of failing to meet a State's challenging content and student performance standards in school attendance areas and schools with high concentrations of children from low-income families and in local institutions for neglected or delinquent (N or D) children.

Title I, Part A supports all of the National Education Goals:

  1. All children in America will start school ready to learn.

  2. The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent.

  3. All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography, and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they many be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our nation's modern economy.

  4. U.S. students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.

  5. Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

  6. Every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol, and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.

  7. The nation's teaching force will have access to resources for the continuing improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare all American students for the next century.

  8. Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.

Statutory Purpose of the Program

The purpose of Title I, Part A is to enable schools to provide opportunities for children served to acquire the knowledge and skills contained in the State's challenging content and student performance standards that all children are expected to meet.

Part A embraces fundamental strategies to address the needs of the children served:

The new Part A supports new roles for schools, LEAs, and States. Schools are provided much more flexibility--and responsibility--for determining how to spend their Part A resources, and many more schools are now able to combine most of their resources to support comprehensive reform through schoolwide programs. LEAs play a critical role through providing technical assistance, coordination of services, and high-quality professional development. States anchor the program by developing challenging academic standards and aligned assessments, linking Title I, Part A with their overall education reform efforts, and still ensuring proper and efficient administration and use of Title I, Part A funds.

Purpose of the Guidance

The guidance in this document applies to programs under Part A of Title I (basic program operated by LEAs). It does not impose requirements beyond those in the ESEA and other applicable federal statutes and regulations. While SEAs may wish to consider the guidance in this document in developing their own guidelines and standards, they are free to develop alternative approaches that are consistent with applicable federal statutes and regulations. In other words, this document contains acceptable but not exclusive guidance concerning Title I. Compliance with the guidance in this document will be deemed by department officials, including the Inspector General, as compliance with the applicable federal statutes and regulations. This guidance replaces all prior nonregulatory guidance for Title I, Part A programs.

Content of Guidance

The guidance includes several chapters, each with its own contents cover sheet. Where noted, some chapters have attachments such as a Federal Register notice or a Department-issued memorandum. Furthermore, as appendices to this guidance, we have included the Title I statute, the Title XIV statute (General Provisions), and the Title I regulations. This guidance has been developed to accommodate additional examples as the new law is implemented and new practices are documented. The chapters included in this guidance are as follows:

This guidance uses a variety of strategies to clarify statutory or regulatory requirements, including the incorporation of many examples. The examples provided in this document should not be viewed as the "only" or even the "best" way to address particular statutory or regulatory requirements. They are provided to help practitioners consider the range of options available, and to stimulate thinking about teaching and learning in the context of local needs and resources. The Department recognizes that effective practices, whether similar to or different from examples provided in the text, are currently being implemented in many locations across the nation. The Department applauds all sites that are using innovative programming to help at-risk children achieve to high academic standards.
[Letter from Mary Jean LeTendre] [Table of Contents] [Basic Programs in Local Education Agencies]