ERIC Number: ED498660
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Title I and Early Childhood Programs: A Look at Investments in the NCLB Era. CLASP Child Care and Early Education Series. Policy Paper No. 2
Ewen, Danielle; Matthews, Hannah
Center for Law and Social Policy, Inc. (CLASP)
This paper explores the range of ways in which school districts are using Title I funds for early education through kindergarten and examines how the implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has impacted those investments. It also makes recommendations for local education agencies (LEAs) interested in creating Title I-funded early education programs or thinking about how to sustain such investments in the face of policy and funding challenges. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) spent more than two years examining strategies to encourage and sustain Title I investments in high-quality early education programs in local communities. Building on research and analysis in "Missed Opportunities? The Possibilities and Challenges of Funding High-Quality Preschool through Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act", the Center conducted Web-based research to identify promising models, review local policies and documents, and find local policymakers to interview. Staff also used ongoing conversations with early education administrators to identify more than 100 schools and districts with some history of using Title I for early education programs. CLASP conducted interviews with more than 30 states and districts, including districts with increasing Title I allocations and others with decreasing allocations, and districts in states with a history of investments in pre-kindergarten and others in states without such a history, using a survey protocol developed to understand how schools and districts are using Title I for early education, the history of these investments, and the barriers and flexibility in the law. CLASP interviewed state and local Title I directors, early childhood directors, and district superintendents and, where possible, collected financial information on Title I early education investments. This paper discusses: (1) Federal and state funding for early education; (2) Opportunity of Title I funding for early education; (3) Story behind Title I investments in early education, through illustrations of a range of models from school districts; (4) How NCLB is impacting Title I investments in early education; and (5) Recommendations for LEAs. The report concludes that using Title I funds for early education is not a new idea: many schools and districts have been using these funds to invest in young children for decades. Although accountability requirements of NCLB have created new challenges to sustaining or expanding those investments, NCLB also offers an opportunity and an incentive to support the nation's youngest students. Many LEAs are committed to supporting early education, and several openings and strategies exist that may enable LEAs to take advantage of the flexibility of Title I funds to use them to support early education and to support broad educational goals. There is, however, emerging evidence that the requirements of NCLB and the limited funding available are putting district policymakers in the difficult position of defunding successful early childhood programs. In addition to actions that LEAs can take, the report advocates that there are also ways in which NCLB could be improved to support high-quality early education. CLASP has issued a set of federal recommendations for reauthorization of NCLB. They include: (1) Improved data collection; (2) Enhanced language on transitions between community-based early childhood programs and local schools; (3) Sustaining and supporting local flexibility in use of funds for discretionary purposes; (4) Ensuring that joint professional development opportunities are available to build knowledge of child development and appropriate practices with English language learners (ELLs); (5) Encouraging state education agencies (SEAs) to use set-aside funds to promote and support early childhood programs at the local level; and (6) Increased funding. A long-term strategy to successfully create and sustain sound investments in young children will take efforts and strong leadership at all levels. (Contains 88 endnotes.) [For "Missed Opportunities? The Possibilities and Challenges of Funding High-Quality Preschool through Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act", see ED484650.]
Descriptors: Early Childhood Education, Federal Legislation, Second Language Learning, Young Children, School Districts, Kindergarten, Federal Aid, Educational Policy, Investment, Models, Educational Finance, National Surveys, Interviews, Administrators, State Aid, Accountability, Educational Strategies, Retrenchment, Program Improvement, Data Collection, Professional Development, Low Income Groups, Program Descriptions, Program Implementation, Federal Programs, Longitudinal Studies, Educational Planning
Center for Law and Social Policy. 1015 15th Street NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-906-8000; Fax: 202-842-2885; Web site: http://www.clasp.org
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten; Preschool Education
Sponsor: Foundation for Child Development, New York, NY.; George Gund Foundation, Cleveland, OH.; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.; David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA.
Authoring Institution: Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: California; Georgia; Illinois; Massachusetts; Michigan; Texas; Washington; West Virginia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001