'Broken' Title I Formula Needs Congress' Action

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

If one is under the impression that the Title I formula of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is rational, consider this. Last month, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Hamlet, N.C., to discuss rural education ("Rural Areas Perceive Policy Tilt," Sept. 2, 2009). Hamlet is in the Richmond County school system, a small district with a high poverty rate. Thirty-two percent of its students are Title I-eligible. Under the formula, it received $1,209 per Title I student in 2008-09. The adjacent Charlotte-Mecklenburg district, the largest in North Carolina, has a 16 percent eligibility rate, but received $1,398 per student, nearly $200 more than Richmond County.

Chicago, on the other hand, with an eligibility rate that, at 27 percent, is also well below Richmond County’s, pulled in $2,273 per student, over $1,000 more per student than Richmond. And that’s nothing compared to Colchester, Vt., a suburb of Burlington, which has a Title I eligibility rate of only 7 percent, but received a hefty $2,546 for each of its Title I students last year—well over double the amount high-poverty Richmond County received.

These are not aberrations, but systematic failures of a formula designed to satisfy political, not programmatic, objectives. The Title I formula is broken. Congress needs to fix it so that places like Richmond County get the funding they need to take on the challenges they face.

Marty Strange
Randolph, Vt.
(The writer is the policy director of the Rural School and Community Trust, headquartered in Arlington, Va.)

Vol. 29, Issue 04, Page 25

Published in Print: September 23, 2009, as 'Broken' Title I Formula Needs Congress' Action
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories