Children's Defense Fund Calls for Overhaul of Title I Funding

Last Updated: April 30, 2010

This article appeared in the April 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

The Children’s Defense Fund, a leading child advocacy organization lead by the venerable Marian Wright Edelman, has written Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee calling for broad reforms of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (a.k.a. No Child Left Behind). First on its list of needed changes is the Title I formula.

“Because the current formula (a complex combination of four formulas)favors large districts irrespective of their child poverty rate,” Edelman wrote, “children who live in areas of concentrated poverty in mid-sized cities and in rural districts lose out. The inequities are blatant — between and within states.”

Edelman concluded that “By ensuring that many of the neediest children receive the least amount of Title I educational support, the formula denies many children in areas of concentrated poverty a way out of poverty and fuels the cradle-to-prison pipeline.”

The letter also called for strengthening the Rural Education Achievement Program, and stronger efforts to help the most vulnerable children, especially by supporting early childhood education with Title I funds, replacing “zero tolerance” policies with more positive discipline programs, and providing better educational services for children in juvenile justice facilities and foster homes.

The Children’s Defense Fund is a co-sponsor of the Formula Fairness Campaign.

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Read more from the April 2010 Rural Policy Matters