Study: Title I Aides Often Acting as Teachers

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Teachers' aides hired with federal Title I dollars spend more than half their time teaching or helping to teach students, with many conducting a substantial amount of instruction on their own, according to a Department of Education report.

Department officials called that finding perhaps the most disconcerting in the study, since many paraprofessionals lack the educational background to teach.

But the report, "Study of Education Resources and Federal Funding: Preliminary Report," issued late last month, does provide encouraging data on federal dollars reaching the neediest students, the officials said. Overall, it offers an array of information about the use of money from five of the largest programs within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as well as the Goals 2000 reform program. A final report is due out later this year.

For More Information:

For a free copy of either study, call the Education Department at (877) 433-7827.

The study says paraprofessionals hired under Title I--an $8 billion program that seeks to help disadvantaged students--spent 60 percent of their time teaching or helping to teach students during the 1997-98 school year. And, 41 percent of Title I aides spent half or more of their time on those activities without a teacher present.

Restricting Title I aides to noninstructional activities is expected to become a point of debate during this year's efforts to reauthorize the ESEA.

Other findings in the report suggest that federal aid is getting to the neediest students. In 1997-98, federal dollars were much more targeted to high-poverty districts than state and local funds were.

Another new study, "Targeting Schools: Study of Title I Allocations Within School Districts," found that, between 1993-94 and 1997-98, the proportion of the highest-poverty schools receiving Title I aid increased from 79 percent to 95 percent, reflecting changes to the ESEA made in 1994.

Vol. 18, Issue 43, Page 33

Published in Print: August 4, 1999, as Study: Title I Aides Often Acting as Teachers
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