NCLB OVERVIEW
Preliminary Overview of Programs and Changes Included in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
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Title I

    Grants to Local Educational Agencies
    (Title I, Part A)

    Overview

    Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) provides local educational agencies (LEAs, or school districts) with extra resources to help improve instruction in high-poverty schools and ensure that poor and minority children have the same opportunity as other children to meet challenging State academic standards. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorizes the ESEA and incorporates nearly all of the major reforms proposed by President Bush in his own No Child Left Behind framework for education reform, particularly in the areas of assessment, accountability, and school improvement. The new law requires States to develop standards in reading and math, and assessments linked to those standards for all students in grades 3-8. LEAs and schools must use Title I funds for activities that scientifically based research suggests will be most effective in helping all students meet these State standards.

    States also must develop annual adequate yearly progress (AYP) objectives-disaggregated by student groups based on poverty, race and ethnicity, disability, and limited English proficiency-that will result in all students achieving proficiency in reading and math within 12 years. Biennial State participation in the State-level version of the National Assessment of Educational Progress will provide benchmarks for ensuring the rigor of State Standards and Assessments.

    NCLB also requires LEAs to permit students in schools that fail to meet annual State AYP objectives for two consecutive years to transfer to a better public school. If schools continue to fail to meet AYP, students will be permitted to use Title I funds to obtain educational services from the public- or private-sector provider selected by their parents from a State-approved list.

    The new law requires schools identified for improvement (after failing to make AYP for two consecutive years) to develop improvement plans incorporating strategies from scientifically based research. Schools that fail to improve would be subject to increasingly tough corrective actions-such as replacing school staff or significantly decreasing management authority at the school level-and could ultimately face restructuring, which involves a fundamental change in governance, such as a State takeover or placement under private management. To help States, districts, and schools carry out needed improvements, NCLB significantly increases and makes mandatory the reservation of a portion of Part A Allocations for school improvement.

    NCLB also authorizes State Academic Achievement Awards to schools that significantly close achievement gaps or exceed AYP standards for two or more consecutive years, as well as awards to teachers in such schools. However, the new law punishes States that fail to put in place systems of standards, assessments, and accountability by permitting-and in some cases requiring-the Secretary to withhold a portion of Federal funds provided for the administration of Title I.

    Major Changes in NCLB Act

    Standards and Assessments

    • Requires the development of science standards by the 2005-06 school year.

    • Maintains 1994 ESEA requirement for assessments in reading and math at three grade spans (3-5, 6-9, 10-12) through the 2004-2005 school year. Requires annual assessments in reading and math for grades 3-8 beginning in 2005-2006, with the addition of science assessments in 2007-2008 (but only in same three grade spans as the 1994 law). Implementation of new assessments may be deferred if Congress does not appropriate specified levels of funding for assessment development and administration, ranging from $370 million for fiscal year 2002 to $400 million in fiscal year 2005. Subpart 1 of Part A of Title VI authorizes $490 million in fiscal year 2002 for formula-based State assessment grants and a related Grants for Enhanced Assessment Instruments program.

    • Requires reading assessments using tests written in English for any student who has attended school in the US (excluding Puerto Rico) for 3 or more consecutive years, with LEA discretion to use tests in another language for up to 2 additional years. States also must annually assess English proficiency for all LEP students beginning with the 2002-03 school year.

    • Requires, beginning in school year 2002-03, biennial State participation in NAEP reading and math assessments for 4th and 8th graders so long as the Department pays the costs of administering those assessments.

    Program Effectiveness

    • Incorporates new language intended to ensure that Title I funds are used only for effective educational practices. The authorization for both schoolwide and targeted assistance programs call for those programs to use effective methods and instructional strategies that are based on scientifically based research. Other provisions call for school improvement plans, professional development, and the technical assistance provided by LEAs to low-performing schools all to be based on scientifically based research.

    Accountability

    • Requires a single, statewide accountability system for all LEAs and public schools, except that LEAs and schools not receiving Title I funds are not subject to the school improvement provisions of 1116(c).

    • Tightens the definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP) to include annual statewide measurable objectives for improved achievement by all students as well as specific groups, including economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and LEP students. The overall goal is for all students to meet the "proficient" level no later than 12 years after the 2001-02 school year. AYP is to be based primarily on State assessments; one additional academic indicator is required and other indicators are permitted, but they may not be used to reduce the number or change the identity of schools otherwise subject to improvement under Sec. 1116. Each student group must meet the statewide achievement goal for a school to make AYP. If a group does not meet the State goal, the school can be considered to have made AYP if the percentage of students in that group not reaching the proficient level falls by at least 10 percent. At least 95 percent of each group must participate in State assessments. States may average up to three years of data in making AYP determinations.

    • Requires State and LEA report cards to the public no later than the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year. Also requires annual State reports to the Secretary, to be transmitted in summary form to the Congress, beginning in 2002-03.

    • Requires the Secretary to withhold of 25 percent of funds for State administration from States that have failed to meet the 1994 deadlines for putting in place standards and a system for measuring AYP, and permits the Secretary to withhold an unspecified amount of State administrative funds from a State that fails to meet requirements of new law.

    • Adds "Parents Right to Know" provision requiring LEAs to annually notify parents of their right to request information on the professional qualifications of their child's teachers.

    School Improvement

    The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 significantly strengthens the school improvement provisions under section 1116 of Title I. The new law puts students first by requiring LEAs to offer choice and supplemental educational services to students attending schools identified for improvement, dedicates substantial new dollars to State and local improvement efforts, and requires progressively tougher improvement measures over time for schools that fail to improve, including potential reconstitution under a restructuring plan.

    Funding

    • Requires States to reserve 2 percent of Part A allocations for school improvement purposes in fiscal years 2002 and 2003, rising to 4 percent in 2004 and thereafter. (The 1994 law permitted, but did not require, the reservation of .5 percent of allocations for this purpose.) States must distribute 95 percent of these funds to LEAs for schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.

    • Establishes a separate $500 million authorization for a new Assistance for Local School Improvement grant program under which States would make subgrants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 to help LEAs comply with the improvement provisions of Sec. 1116.

    School Improvement (failing to make AYP for 2 consecutive years)

    • Requires schools identified for improvement to develop two-year improvement plans incorporating strategies from scientifically based research on how to strengthen the core academic subjects and address the specific issues that caused the school to be identified for improvement.

    • Requires schools identified for improvement to reserve annually at least 10 percent of their Part A funds for professional development that directly addresses the problems that led to identification for improvement.

    • Requires LEAs to immediately provide students attending schools identified for improvement the option of attending another public school, which may include a public charter school, that is not identified for improvement. LEAs must provide or pay for transportation to the new school, with a limit on the portion of Part A funds that may be used for this purpose (see 20 percent cap below).

    • Permits students attending schools in the second year of school improvement (failure to make AYP for 3 consecutive years) to use Title I funds to obtain supplemental educational services from the public- or private-sector provider of their choice. Caps the per-child cost of such services at the lesser of the LEA per-child Part A allocation or the cost of services.

    • Requires LEAs to "promptly" notify parents of eligible students attending schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring of their option to transfer their child to a better public school or to obtain supplemental services.

    • Requires LEAs to give priority to low-achieving students from low-income families in making available choice and supplemental educational services. Only low-income children are eligible for supplemental services.

    • Requires LEAs to use an amount equal to 20 percent of their Part A Allocations to pay for transportation of students exercising a choice option or obtaining supplemental educational services for eligible students. In reserving such funds, LEAs may not reduce allocations to schools identified for corrective action or restructuring by more than 15 percent.

    • Permits a student who transferred to another school under these provisions to remain in that school through its highest grade, but the LEA is required to provide transportation to the new school only as long as the student's original school is subject to school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.

    Corrective Action

    • Strengthens corrective action (required after 2 years in school improvement) to include actions more likely to bring about meaningful change at the school, such as replacing school staff responsible for the continued failure to make AYP, comprehensive implementation of a new curriculum (including professional development), and reorganizing the school internally. Corrective action schools also must continue to provide choice and supplemental services options to their students.

    Restructuring

    • Adds a new restructuring requirement for schools that fail to respond to corrective actions. If a school fails to make AYP after one year of corrective action, it must begin planning for restructuring, which involves fundamental change such as reopening the school as a public charter school, replacing all or most of the school's staff, or turning operation of the school over to a private management company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness, and implement its restructuring plan the following year. Schools identified for restructuring also must continue to provide choice and supplemental services options to their students.

    Duration of Improvement Status

    • Permits LEAs to end school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring if the school involved makes AYP for 2 consecutive years. An LEA may delay implementation of supplemental services requirements, corrective action, or restructuring if a school identified for such measures makes AYP for 1 year.

    Rewards

    • Authorizes State Academic Achievement Awards to schools that close achievement gaps or exceed AYP requirements, the designation of schools that make the greatest gains as Distinguished Schools, and financial awards to teachers in schools that receive Academic Achievement Awards. States may reserve up to 5 percent of annual Part A increases for Academic Achievement Awards, and 75 percent of these funds must be awarded to high-poverty schools.

    LEA Improvement

    • Requires LEAs identified for improvement to spend at least 10 percent of their annual Part A allocations on professional development.

    Qualifications for Teachers and Paraprofessionals

    • Requires LEAs to ensure that all Title I teachers hired after the first day of the first school year following the date of enactment are "highly qualified," which for new teachers means certified by the State (including alternative routes to State certification), holding at least a bachelor's degree, and passing a rigorous State test on subject knowledge and teaching skills (definition is in Title IX General Provisions).

    • Requires States to develop plans with annual measurable objectives that will ensure that all teachers teaching in core academic subjects are highly qualified by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. States and LEAs must report annually, beginning with the 2002-03 school year, on progress toward this goal.

    • Requires LEAs to use between 5 and 10 percent, inclusive, of their Part A allocations for fiscal years 2002 and 2003, and at least 5 percent thereafter, to ensure that all teachers are highly qualified by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

    • Strengthens paraprofessional requirements to include two years of postsecondary education or, for an applicant with a high school diploma, the demonstration of necessary skills on a "formal State or local academic assessment." All new hires must meet these requirements, and existing paraprofessionals have 4 years to comply with them.

    • Specifies permitted paraprofessional duties and emphasizes that paraprofessionals "may not provide any instructional services" except under the direct supervision of a teacher.

    • Requires principals to "attest annually in writing" that their schools are in compliance with the teacher and paraprofessional qualification requirements in section 1119.

    Services to Students in Private Schools

    • Requires equitable inclusion of private school parents and teachers in parent involvement and professional development activities under sections 1118 and 1119, respectively.

    • Expands consultation requirements to cover who will provide the services, including a "thorough consideration and analysis" of the potential use of third-party providers and a written explanation if an LEA decides not to honor a private school's request that services be provided by a third-party provider. Also requires consultation to include meetings of agency and private school officials, which must continue throughout implementation and assessment of services.

    • Requires LEAs to document the required consultation, including affirmation by private school officials that consultation occurred, and to forward such documentation to the SEA. Also outlines complaint procedures if private school officials are dissatisfied with the outcome of the consultation.

    • Specifies methods for determining the number of poor children in private schools and permits such determinations to be made biennially.

    Other Changes

    • Continues to permit States to reserve 1 percent of allocations under parts A, C, and D for State administrative activities, but caps the reservation at the amount a State would reserve if the total appropriation for those parts was $14 billion.

    • Lowers the poverty threshold for schoolwide programs to 40 percent.

    New Accountability Provisions

    The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 maintains the same general Accountability structure-based on standards, assessments, AYP, and school improvement-as the 1994 ESEA reauthorization. However, the NCLB Act includes the following changes that significantly strengthen that structure:

    • Requiring annual assessments to cover all children in grades 3-8.

    • Tightening AYP requirements by specifying a minimally acceptable rate of progress to ensure that all groups of students-disaggregated by poverty, race and ethnicity, disability, and limited English proficiency-reach proficiency within 12 years.

    • Requiring State and local report cards on progress in helping all students meet challenging State academic standards.

    • Substantially increasing funding for State and local support for school improvement (from ?? percent of Part A allocations under the 1994 ESEA reauthorization to 2 percent under the NCLB Act, rising to 4 percent in 2004).

    • Requiring LEAs to offer students in schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring the option of attending a better public school, so that no student is trapped in an underperforming school.

    • Requiring LEAs to allow students attending chronically underperforming schools (i.e., failing to make AYP for 3 or more years) to use Title I funds to obtain supplemental educational services that can help keep them on track to meet challenging State academic standards.

    • Mandating the fundamental restructuring of any school that fails to improve over an extended period of time, including reopening the school as a charter school or turning over school operations either to the State or to a private company with a demonstrated record of effectiveness.

    • Rewarding schools and teachers that succeed in narrowing achievement gaps or exceeding AYP requirements through Academic Achievement Awards.

    Allocations

    Authorizes allocation of Part A funds to local educational agencies that meet the requirements of 4 separate funding formulas: Basic Grants, Concentration Grants, Targeted Grants, and Education Finance Incentive Grants. Allocations are based primarily on the number of poor children in each school district (LEA). LEAs receive a single combined allocation that is adjusted by the State under certain circumstances.

    The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 made relatively minor changes to most Part A formula provisions:

    • Updates of census poverty estimates are required every year rather than every two years, though only if technically feasible.

    • The poverty rate-linked "hold-harmless" of 85%-95% was extended to Concentration Grants.

    • LEAs that lose eligibility for Concentration Grants would nevertheless continue to receive them for up to 4 consecutive years.

    • The small-State minimum for Basic and Concentration Grants rises to .25 percent of total allocations to States for fiscal year 2001 plus .35 percent of amounts over the fiscal year 2001 level. The small-State minimum for Targeted Grants and Education Finance Incentive Grants (neither of which was funded prior to fiscal year 2002) is .35 percent.

    The Education Finance Incentive Grant formula was significantly modified by changing the count of children from the total population aged 5-17 to the number of Title I formula children (i.e., primarily census poverty counts). In addition, within-State allocations under the Incentive Grant program are now based on a variation of the Targeted Grants formula. As a result of these changes, the Incentive Grant program is now much more targeted to high-poverty urban and rural districts than under the 1994 law.

    Set-Asides

    Federal -

    • None. Evaluations are funded through a separate authorization under Part E of Title I.

    State -

    • States may reserve up to 1 percent of allocations under parts A, C, and D "to carry out administrative duties" related to those parts.

    • States also must reserve 2 percent of Part A allocations, rising to 4 percent in fiscal year 2004, to carry out State and local school improvement activities. States must allocate 95 percent of school improvement funds directly to LEAs.

    • States must withhold from their Title I LEA Grant allocations amounts generated by annual counts of delinquent children in local institutions in order to support projects in LEAs with high proportions of children in local correctional facilities.

    Local -

    • LEAs must use between 5 and 10 percent, inclusive, of their Part A allocations for professional development aimed at ensuring that all teachers are highly qualified by the end of the 2005-06 school year (the requirement changes to a simple 5 percent floor in 2004).

    • School improvement, corrective action, and restructuring potentially impose a variety of local set-asides. Both LEAs and schools identified for improvement, for example, must use at least 10 percent of their allocations for professional development aimed at correcting the deficiencies that led to identification for improvement. And LEAs with schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring may be required to use up to 20 percent of their Part A allocations to pay choice-related transportation costs and to provide supplemental educational services to students whose parents request them.


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Last Modified: 01/19/2005