This section of the handbook describes "formula" grant programs authorized under ESEA. Generally, a formula grant is a grant of funds to the state or local education agency based on a pre-determined formula, such as the number of children enrolled by grade or the number of children from low-income families.
Under the reauthorized ESEA, as in the previous ESEA, private school students, teachers, and other personnel are included in these programs. Private schools receive no direct aid from these programs. Program funds are granted to the public authorities (usually a local education agency or public school district) who are in turn responsible for serving eligible students, teachers, and other personnel within their boundaries, whether they attend public or private school. The formula, requirements, and procedures vary by program, but the principle of the public authority's responsibility for all eligible students within its jurisdiction remains constant.
To ensure that private school students, teachers, and other personnel have every opportunity to participate in federal education programs for which they are eligible, private school officials should contact their local public school district and ask for the person in charge of coordinating federal education programs. In larger districts, several people will be involved and could be assigned by program; in smaller districts, there is often just one person who coordinates the involvement of students, teachers, and other personnel in all of the federal education programs in which the district participates. It is important for private school officials to establish a positive, productive working relationship with this person or persons. Questions are more easily answered and difficulties more easily worked out when the officials involved have met to discuss the issues beforehand.
Private school officials should consider the following:
Part A embraces the following fundamental strategies to address the needs of children served:
Section 1120 of Title I requires that an LEA provide eligible private school children with Title I educational services or other benefits that are equitable to those provided to eligible public school children. Title I services for eligible private school children must be developed in consultation with private school officials. The location of instructional services under Part A of Title I for private school children is limited by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Aguilar v. Felton4.
The consultation process must include ongoing coordination of services in order to provide private school participants an optimal opportunity to reach challenging standards. It is, therefore, very important that Title I teachers and LEA officials consult with private school officials and instructional staff throughout the program cycle in order to coordinate Title I services with regular classroom instruction.
For a fuller discussion of the issue of consultation, read Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A. (See "Providing Services to Eligible Private School Children, pages 1- 2). A copy of this policy guidance can be obtained by calling 202/260-0826 or writing to the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Compensatory Education Programs, Portals Building, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-6132.
In identifying and ranking eligible public school attendance areas, an LEA generally should, if possible, take into consideration data on the number of children from low-income families who reside in each area and attend private schools. These data may not be available for private school students throughout the LEA, however; thus the LEA may identify and rank its eligible areas on the basis of children from low-income families attending public school only.
Under Section 1113(c) of Title I, an LEA must allocate funds to a participating public school attendance area or school on the basis of the total number of children from low-income families, including low-income children attending private schools. Thus, the LEA, in consultation with private school officials, must obtain the best poverty data on private school children who reside in participating school attendance areas. Because private school officials may have access to some sources of poverty information not easily accessible to public school officials, it is very important that public and private school officials cooperate in this effort. The responsibility for collection of data, however, does rest with the LEA.
An LEA may use any of the following methods to obtain poverty data on private school children. The choice of method is decided in consultation between public and private school officials.
After reserving off-the-top costs, for example, for services to local institutions for neglected children, administration of Title I programs, and costs of compliance with Aguilar v. Felton, the LEA allocates funds to public school attendance areas selected to participate in Title I. The LEA determines a per-pupil allocation for each participating area and distributes that amount for each low-income child--public and private--residing in the area.
To provide equitable services to private school children, the LEA then reserves the amounts generated by poor private school children who reside in participating public school attendance areas. In consultation, the LEA and private school officials determine how funds to benefit private school students will be distributed. They may choose to provide equitable services to eligible children in each private school with the funds generated by children from low-income families who reside in participating public school attendance areas and who attend that private school.
They may also choose to combine the funds generated by low-income private school children in all participating areas to create a pool of funds from which the LEA provides equitable services to eligible private school children, residing in participating public school attendance areas, who are in the greatest educational need of these services. Finally, they may choose to exercise a combination of these options.
For a fuller discussion on the issue of generating funds for services to private school students, consult Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A. ( See "Providing Services to Eligible Private School Children", pages 3-10).
To be eligible to receive Title I services, a private school child must reside in a participating public school attendance area and must meet the criteria in section 1115(b) of Title I. Under that section, certain children would be eligible by virtue of their status: for example, homeless children and children who in the preceding two years participated in Head Start of Even Start. However, the criterion that a student is failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the State's challenging student content and performance standards is, for the majority of private school children, likely to be the criterion against which eligibility for Title I services will be determined.
In consultation with private school officials, an LEA must establish criteria to determine which private school children are eligible and, within the eligible group, which children will be served. To the extent appropriate, the LEA must select private school children who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the State's student content and performance standards. If the LEA, in consultation with private school officials, determines that it is inappropriate to select private school children on the basis of the State's content and student performance standards, the LEA must select private school children who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet high levels of achievement comparable to those required by the State's content and performance standards.
Once students are selected, the LEA, in consultation with private school officials, determines what Title I services are to be provided. The private school students' needs will determine what Title I services are appropriate and services may be provided in subject areas of grade levels that are different form those provided to public school students. The type of services provided must give reasonable promise that the children will make adequate progress toward achieving the State's challenging student performance standards.
Because eligibility for services is determined by residence in a participating public school attendance area, private school students being served need to reside in an eligible participating public school attendance area. Therefore, if a public middle school attendance area is not participating in Title I, Title I services may not be provided to private school students in middle school grades that reside in that area.
In the case of children attending religiously affiliated private schools, several court cases, most notably Aguilar v. Felton, have dealt with the manner in which these children may be served in light of constitutional requirements contained in the First Amendment. Most significant is the prohibition in Aguilar v. Felton against Title I personnel providing instructional services in religiously affiliated schools. Because of this prohibition, an LEA must provide equitable services through alternate delivery methods.
Some of the questions that should be considered when determining what delivery system to use in ensuring the equitable participation of private school children include: Does the system provide an opportunity for private school children to participate in Title I services that is equitable to the opportunity provided to public school children? How much instructional time is lost going to and from the instructional services? What are the safety factors involved in children going to and from the Title I class?
Delivery options5 in providing services to participating private school children include, but are not limited to:
An LEA may provide Title I services directly or through contracts with public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions, as long as those entities are independent of the private school and of any religious organization in the provision of those services.
For a fuller discussion of the equitable participation of private school children, consult Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A, (see section entitled "Providing Services to Eligible Private School Children", page 10-24).
Parental participation, including the participation of parents of participating private school students, is on several levels For a fuller discussion on the participation of parents on the SEA and LEA levels, consult Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A (See section entitled "Parental Involvement).
In addition to an LEA parent involvement policy, each participating public school must jointly develop with, and distribute to, parents of participating children a written parental involvement policy, agreed upon by these parents, that describes the means for carrying out school-level policy, sharing responsibility for high student performance, building capacity of school staff and parents for involvement, and increasing accessibility for participation of parents with limited English proficiency or with disabilities. In order to define the shared responsibility of parents and the school for high student performance, parents of participating Title I children and school officials jointly develop a parent-school compact.
The parent-school compact is a written agreement of shared responsibility that defines goals and expectations of schools and parents as partners in the effort to improve student achievement. It describes a school's responsibility to provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment; describes ways in which parents will be responsible for supporting their children's learning, such as monitoring attendance, homework completion, volunteering in their children's classrooms, and encouraging the positive use of extracurricular time; and addresses the importance of establishing ongoing, good communication between parents and teachers. This school- parent compact must be reviewed and updated periodically with parents of participating children and school officials.
An LEA must involve parents of participating private school students in these activities. Activities for parents of private school participants must be designed in consultation with private school officials and parents. Furthermore, an LEA has the responsibility for consulting with private school officials and parents of participating private school children to jointly develop a compact between the LEA and parents of private school participants that outlines their shared responsibility for improved student achievement under Title I. A compact between the private school and participating private school children is not required, however.
If an LEA reserves funds "off the top" of its Title I allocation for carrying out Title I parental involvement activities, the LEA must involve parents of private school participants in those activities. If, instead, the LEA requires its Title I schools to provide parental involvement activities for public school parents from the Title I funds the schools receive, the LEA must provide activities for private school parents from the funds generated for providing services to private school children.
Private school officials and staff who work directly with private school children who participate in Title I may be included in professional development activities. In addition, parents of private school participants may participate in professional development activities if appropriate. Public school teachers who provide Title I services to private school children must be provided professional development, if needed.
Professional development activities must support instructional practices that are geared to challenging state content standards and create a school environment conducive to high achievement in academic subjects. A fuller discussion of professional development under Title I is found in Policy Guidance for Title I, Part A. (See section entitled "Professional Development").
As with parental involvement costs, if an LEA reserves funds "off the top" of its Title I allocation for carrying out Title I professional development activities, the LEA may involve teachers of participating private school children in those activities. If, instead, the LEA requires its Title I schools to provide professional development activities for public school teachers from the funds the schools receive, the LEA must provide activities for teachers of participating private school children from the funds generated for providing services to private school children. An LEA has the responsibility for consulting with private school officials to jointly develop a professional development plan that will meet the needs of participating private school children.
For further information on the complaint procedure, please contact the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Non-Public Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-0122 or by phone at 202/401-1365.
5 For a discussion of service delivery locations and options for religious-school students under Chapter 1 (currently Title I), see Chapter 1 Services to Religious-School Students, A Supplemental Volume to the National Assessment of the Chapter 1 Program, published for the U.S. Department of Education by Policy Studies Associates in June 1993. Of particular interest is Chapter 3, "Characteristics of Chapter 1 Services for Religious-School Participants". For a discussion of the option of computer-assisted instruction, see The Use of Computer- Assisted Instruction in Chapter 1 Programs Serving Sectarian Private School Students, published for the U.S. Department of Education by Policy Studies Associates in December 1992.
[ Chapter 1.....Background ] [ Chapter 2....Continued...]