Preliminary Overview of Programs and Changes Included in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
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Local School Improvement Grants
(Title I Sec. 1003 (g))


Authorizes $500 million for formula grants to States for a new Assistance for Local School Improvement grant program. States, in turn, make subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to support school improvement activities under section 1116 of Part A of Title I.

Program Description

  • Requires States to submit applications to the Department describing how they would allocate funds to help ensure compliance with the school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring requirements for schools participating in Part A of Title I.

  • Requires States to give priority for subgrants to school districts with low-achieving schools that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to meeting their school improvement goals.

  • Grants to LEAs must be large enough to provide between $50,000 and $500,000 for "each participating school," and LEAs may receive up to 3 years of assistance.


  • Program purpose is to provide financial assistance to help States, LEAs, and schools to meet the accountability requirements of section 1116 of Part A of Title I.


  • Allocations to States are based on current-year shares of funds received under Parts A, C, and D of Title I by the States, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the outlying areas.

  • States subgrant at least 95 percent of their allocations to LEAs through a competitive grant process.


  • States may retain up to 5 percent of their allocations to pay for administration, evaluation, and technical assistance activities.

Reading First State Grants
(Title I, Part B, Subpart 1)


Creates a new authority (replacing the Reading Excellence Act) to help States and local educational agencies utilize scientifically based reading research to implement comprehensive reading instruction for children in kindergarten through third grade.

Major Changes from Current Law

  • Formula Grants to State Educational Agencies - Most of the funds available to each State will be distributed by formula (the antecedent Reading Excellence Act authorized competitive grants). As for the previous Reading Excellence Act grants, State grant applications would be reviewed by a peer review panel; grants would be for 6 years instead of 3 years. As in current law, States would award subgrants to local communities on a competitive basis.

  • Targeted Assistance Grants to State Educational Agencies - Beginning in 2004, requires that some funds be awarded competitively to States and LEAs based on evidence that they have increased significantly the percentage of 3rd grade students reading at the proficient level and are improving the reading skills of students in the 1st through 3rd grades.

  • Local Uses of Funds - Requires subgrantees to select and administer screening, diagnostic, and classroom-based instructional reading assessments to determine which students in kindergarten through grade 3 are at risk of reading failure. Also requires subgrantees to provide professional development, for teachers of students in kindergarten through grade 3 and special education teachers of students in kindergarten through grade 12, in the essential components of reading instruction.

Accountability (new requirements)

  • Federal - Requires the Department to contract with an independent organization to conduct a 5-year, rigorous, scientifically valid, quantitative evaluation of the Reading First State Grants program. This evaluation must identify the effects of specific activities carried out by States and school districts on improving reading instruction, including the analysis and measurement of 9 specific items as prescribed by law.

  • State/Local - In lieu of the State evaluation required by current law, requires States receiving a Reading First grant to submit an annual report to the Secretary that, among other things: 1) identifies those schools and LEAs that report the largest gains in reading achievement; 2) describes the progress that the SEA and LEAs in the State are making to reduce the number of students served in this program who are in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade and are reading below grade level; and 3) provides evidence on whether the SEA and LEAs in the State have significantly increased the number of students reading at grade level or above and significantly increased the percentages of students described in Title I AYP provisions (racial/ethnic, low-income, LEP, etc.) who are reading at grade level and above.

    In addition, within 60 days of the third year of the grant period, requires that each State submit an interim progress report to the Secretary that includes some of the information that is required in the annual reports.


  • Federal to State - Funds are allocated by formula based on States' relative share of children aged 5 to 17 from families with incomes below the poverty line, with States receiving a minimum of ¼ of 1 percent. Puerto Rico may receive no more than the percentage that it received for Title I, Part A for the preceding fiscal year.

  • State to Local - Subgrants are awarded competitively to eligible LEAs by the SEA. In awarding subgrants, the SEA must give priority to eligible LEAs that have at least 15 percent of students from families with incomes below the Census poverty line or at least 6,500 children from families with incomes below the poverty line. Any LEA that receives a subgrant must receive, at a minimum, the LEA's relative share of the amount the LEA received for Title I, Part A for the preceding fiscal year. In addition, States must provide subgrants of sufficient size to enable the LEA to improve reading instruction and in amounts related to the number or percentage of students in kindergarten through grade 3 who are reading below grade level.


  • Federal - One-half of 1 percent for the outlying areas; ½ of 1 percent for BIA; the lesser of 2.5 percent or $25 million for evaluation and technical assistance; $5 million for information dissemination activities conducted by the National Institute for Literacy; and beginning in 2004, the lesser of 10 percent or $90 million from funds in excess of the FY 2003 appropriation for competitive Targeted Assistance Grants to SEAs.

  • State - States may reserve up to 20 percent of funds for professional development; technical assistance; and planning, administration, and reporting activities. From this amount, States may spend up to 65 percent on professional development, up to 25 percent for technical assistance for LEAs and schools, and up to 10 percent for planning, administration, and reporting activities.

  • Local - Up to 3.5 percent for planning and administration.

Early Reading First
(Title I, Part B, Subpart 2)


Authorizes the Secretary to make competitive awards for up to 6 years to support local efforts to enhance the early language, literacy, and pre-reading development of preschool-age children, particularly those from low-income families, through strategies and professional development that are based on scientifically based reading research.

Program Description

  • Eligible Entities - One or more LEAs eligible to receive a subgrant under the Reading First State Grants program and/or one or more public or private organizations located in a community served by an LEA eligible to receive a Reading First State Grants subgrant.

  • Approval of Applications - Requires that grant awards be based on the recommendations of a Federal peer review panel. The panel must include experts in early reading development and early childhood development.

  • Use of Funds - Authorizes grantees to use program funds to: (1) provide preschool-age children with high-quality oral language and literature-rich environments; (2) provide professional development that is based on scientifically based reading research knowledge of early language and reading development; (3) identify and provide activities and instructional materials that are based on scientifically based reading research; (4) acquire, provide training for, and implement screening reading assessments or other appropriate measures based on scientifically based reading research; and (5) integrate instructional materials, activities, tools, and measures into the programs offered.

  • Information Dissemination - Authorizes the National Institute for Literacy to disseminate information regarding Early Reading First projects that have proven to be effective.


  • Federal - Authorizes an independent evaluation of the program. In addition, the Secretary must report to Congress regarding specific measures of the success of the program no later than October 1, 2004 (interim report) and no later than September 30, 2006 (final report).

  • Local - Requires grantee to report annually to the Secretary regarding the progress made in addressing the program's purposes, including descriptions of measures specified in the law, such as the research-based instruction, materials, and activities being used in the program; the types of programs funded under the grant and the ages of children served by the programs; the qualifications of program staff and the professional development they receive; and the results of the project's evaluation.


  • Federal - Competitive awards to eligible entities.


  • Federal - Not more than $3 million over 4 years (October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2006) for an independent evaluation of program effectiveness.

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Last Modified: 01/19/2005