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Hard Work for Good Schools

Facts, Not Fads, in Title I Reform

By Elizabeth H. DeBray and Gary Orfield

Enacted in 1965, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was intended to address the nation’s history of racial discrimination by targeting funds to benefit schools with high concentrations of poverty. While evidence shows that the racial gap in educational achievement narrowed during the 1960s and 1970s, analyses like the Department of Education’s Prospects study showing no gains from Title I have fueled critics’ demands that the program be replaced by a radically different approach. In this volume, developed in conjunction with the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, leading education authorities look at the 1994 Title I reforms and how they have been implemented, examine recent research, and explore the future of the program. The contributors argue that only by transforming Title I from a simple redistributive program into one that sets high standards, delivers the resources schools need, and holds schools and districts meaningfully accountable can federal spending make a difference in the lives of our neediest students. These scholars are united in the belief that, implemented properly, Title I reforms can work to raise the achievement levels of underprivileged children nationwide.

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