Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Key Principles of ESEA Reauthorization

The National Coalition on School Diversity (2010), Key Principles of ESEA Reauthorization,


The article presents reasons why racial isolation and segregation, which has become pervasive more than 50 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, should be addressed and remedied with the reauthorization of ESEA.  The article presents three problems occurring in our education system that are resulting in a lack of equity for all children and in continued re-segregation of schools.  For each problem a solution is presented in the form of a suggestion for the reauthorization of ESEA.

Summary of Problems:

Students are forced to attend segregated schools with high levels of poverty

Resources are not equitably distributed and Title I dollars should not be used to replace these inequitable resources

Schools and districts are not complying with Title I regulations

Summary of Solutions:

Using Title I to: Strengthen the “right-to-transfer” provision; Provide low-income families with the resources necessary to transfer, if they so desire; Create consequences for reinforcing segregation and high concentrations of poverty; Create rewards for promoting integration

Changing Title I to: Restore “comparability measures.”  Title I schools and non-Title I schools within a district must compare teacher salaries to ensure equity and must ensure that Title I schools receive more than 90% equity with non-Title I schools, as is now the standard

Create sanctions that can be enforced against states that do not strictly comply with Title I

Create an administrative or judicial process to enforce ESEA rights 

Important Quotes:

“…the reauthorization process must take account of the fact that race and class still matter deeply in the education schoolchildren receive, and efforts to address the impact of concentrated poverty and racial isolation in schools can and should be of paramount importance.”

“Attending a high-poverty, racially isolated school is a leading predictor of academic failure. Concentrated poverty has an “independent” negative impact on educational outcomes, regardless of race or whether a particular student is poor. Children of color, however, disproportionately confront this problem, as they attend schools with the highest levels of concentrated poverty.”

“…students remain trapped in the very situation Title I was designed to help ameliorate. Even worse, Title I’s funding formulas provide incentives for school districts to maintain high poverty levels and no incentive to deconcentrate poverty or to foster voluntary transfer or assignment policies with surrounding districts. Indeed, Title I makes it financially beneficial for school districts to maintain the status quo.”

“Title I originally required strict levels of financial and resource equity between Title I and non-Title I schools within a school district. Subsequent revisions to Title I intentionally made these provisions meaningless.”


The article is applicable on the district, state and federal level.  These changes will be most powerful, however, if there is broad support from teachers that speak up about and advocate for their students regarding racial isolation and high concentrations of poverty.  If we still believe in the tenets of Brown, greater legislative attention must be paid to making that dream a reality.

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