Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Why Title I Should Not Mandate Programs

May 09, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In his Commentary “Job One for Title I: Use What Works” (March 30, 2011), Robert Slavin called for the Title I reauthorization to “ensure” that the funds be used for programs that have been proven to work, including his own, Success for All. He has made many such calls in the past, and when heeded, Success for All benefited disproportionately and the reforms failed.

The fundamental problem is that Success for All does not work, and may actually inhibit the academic development of the most vulnerable students. While there is published research showing Success for All to be effective, it includes research done by Mr. Slavin, his associates, and program distributors. Conversely, there is a large body of independent research that has not only consistently found Success for All to be ineffective, but dramatically so—for two decades. (The longer online version of this letter gives dramatic examples of such failure.)

When heeded, Mr. Slavin’s prior calls to limit the use of federal and state reform funds to programs “proven to work” were equally disastrous. Congress limited the use of Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration, or CSRD, funds to a small list of specific programs “proven to work.” There were no positive effects from CSRD. New Jersey went even further. It required low-income elementary schools receiving supplemental state funds to raise their spending levels to make Success for All the presumptive program of choice—despite my warnings. Alas, the results were poor, and, in recent years, New Jersey has moved to cut back on this mandate.

Nor is there reason to believe that programs deemed “proven to work” by the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation, or i3, initiative and the department’s What Works Clearinghouse will fare any better—especially since both have validated Success for All.

As a result, Congress and states should reject Mr. Slavin’s latest call. They should not mandate, or even recommend, which specific programs or practices Title I funds should be used for. In addition, school superintendents should stop mandating the use of Success for All in their high-poverty schools. After two decades of failure, such action is long overdue.

View the full version of this letter.

Research Professor of Educational Leadership

San Francisco State University

A longer version of this letter appeared online.

A version of this article appeared in the May 11, 2011 edition of Education Week as Why Title I Should Not Mandate Programs

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Tiny Wrists in Cuffs: How Police Use Force Against Children
An investigation finds children as young as 6 and a disproportionate amount of Black children have been handled forcibly by police officers.
15 min read
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Jhaimarion, 10, reacts as he listens to his mother, Krystal Archie talking with an Associated Press reporter in Chicago on Sept. 23, 2021. Archie’s three children were present when police, on two occasions, just 11 weeks apart, kicked open her front door and tore through their home searching for drug suspects. She’d never heard of the people they were hunting. Her oldest child, Savannah was 14 at the time; her youngest, Jhaimarion, was seven. They were ordered to get down on the floor.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP