Purpose: To provide financial assistance to State education agencies (SEAs), State agencies for higher education (SAHEs), local education agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education, the Outlying Areas, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to improve the skills of teachers and the quality of instruction in mathematics and science in public and private elementary and secondary schools.
1/ The appropriation amounts exclude funds that support Title II National programs (20 U.S.C. 2989).
From analysis of State performance reports, the Department estimates that flow-through funds to LEAs during school year 1991-92 supported activities that served approximately 744,000 participants, 94 percent of whom were in-service teachers, the remainder being pre-service teachers, administrators, supervisors, and other staff. During this same period, SEAs' Demonstration and Exemplary projects served an estimated 39,500 participants, 84 percent of whom were in-service teachers. Grants to institutions of higher education supported activities that served approximately 63,300 participants, 91 percent of whom were in-service teachers. In some cases, figures reported as multiple participants may actually reflect participation of the same teacher in multiple professional development activities (III.1).
Many small LEAs pool their Eisenhower program funds, either by forming consortia or by turning their funds over to intermediate units such as Education Service Centers, which obtain training and other services for them. However, about 10 percent of very small districts do not participate in the program, largely because the amount of funding is too small to warrant a project. Institutions of higher education, which are funded competitively by the SAHE, work with one or more LEAs, and may provide services in partnership with businesses, museums, and other community organizations. Five percent of funds apportioned for programs at the LEA level are retained by the SEA to support demonstration and exemplary projects (III.1).
Program activities must emphasize science and mathematics instruction. Analysis of State performance reports for school year 1991-92 indicates that 53 percent of the LEAs used flow-through funds to support activities in both science and mathematics, with the remainder split evenly between only mathematics (24 percent) and only science (22 percent) (III.1).
Teacher training projects that involve computer instruction are authorized only in the context of mathematics and science programs, and LEAs can use funds to purchase computer or telecommunications equipment only at schools with at least a 50 percent low-income population, after all other training needs have been met. The program has also focused attention on improving access to instruction in these critical subjects by historically under-represented and under-served groups, such as women and minorities (III.1).
Most of the professional development supported by the Eisenhower State Grant Program has been relatively brief, not part of a comprehensive plan, and not sustained. Research and successful programs, however, have demonstrated the value of sustained and intensive high-quality professional development based on new models of teaching and learning, tied to high content standards, and located within professional communities of teachers. As the national study found, Title II/Eisenhower funds were more likely to be well spent in school districts with well-focused agendas for improvement (III.2).
Analysis of State performance reports for school year 1991-92 indicated that 42 percent of LEAs used Eisenhower flow-through funds for workshops and seminars of 8 hours or less, compared to only 9 percent of projects for institutions of higher education. Over one-third (36 percent) of LEAs reported using Eisenhower funds to support extended workshops or mini-courses of 9-20 hours, compared to almost half (49 percent) of higher education projects. Full-term courses of 21-30 hours were reported by 8 percent of the LEAs and 20 percent of the higher education projects, with other kinds of activities accounting for the remainder. Figures on the duration of LEAs' professional development activities are based on responses from 81 percent of all States; for institutions of higher education, figures are based on responses from 73 percent of all States (III.1).
Seventy-two percent of the grants to institutions of higher education were in the range from $10,000-$49,999, according to analysis of State performance reports for 1991-92 (III.1). The national evaluation found that grants to institutions of higher education averaged about $31,000 per project, but there was a large variation in grant size, which ranged from $750 to $419,000. Grants were typically for one year only. Nearly one-fifth of all institutions of higher education in the Nation had received Title II or Eisenhower grants. On average, only four percent of grant funds were used to pay for indirect costs at the host institution, far lower than the indirect costs typically associated with scientific or education grants. More than half the project directors were in mathematics and science departments, rather than in departments or schools of education (III.2).
The study found that the Demonstration and Exemplary projects supported by SEAs and SAHEs are numerous and modest in size. More than 700 were supported in 1988-89, averaging $17,000 each. These projects are highly varied and are typically designed to address key concerns within each State, such as efforts to educate teachers about new State curriculum frameworks or new high school graduation requirements (III.2).
The national study of the program made several recommendations (III.2). Among these are (1) that States and LEAs focus more resources on projects of higher intensity and longer duration, and (2) that dissemination efforts be strengthened in order to provide State and local agencies with maximum information on effective and exemplary uses of funds.
In FY 1995, the Department plans to begin a comprehensive evaluation of the Eisenhower State Grant Program to assess the program's contribution toward systemic educational reform. In addition, during FY 1993, the Department began evaluations of the Eisenhower State Curriculum Frameworks Projects and Regional Consortiums Program. As part of the evaluations, the Department is examining the relationship of these programs with the Eisenhower State Grant Program. The first interim report is expected to be released in FY 1996.