By Laura Shtaida, Government Affairs & Policy Analyst
If I’ve learned anything in life, it is that change is constant. Even more so, trying to stay up-to-date on the change can be overwhelming and nearly impossible. In education, recent and imminent changes are attributed to the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. Broadly, the act continues to hold schools accountable for student progress; however, states were granted more flexibility around testing and targeting funds. The co-authors of ESSA, Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, had the goal of providing more opportunities for states and districts to use their federal dollars to best meet their students’ needs.
“The co-authors of ESSA, Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, had the goal of providing more opportunities for states and districts to use their federal dollars to best meet their students’ needs.”
Since December 10, 2015, when President Obama signed ESSA, specific actions have been taken to support state and district educational leaders in making sense of the changes to federal funding sources such as Title I. As we near the 2017–2018 school year and full implementation of ESSA, many details have yet to be finalized; however, two corresponding actions are occurring that will influence how districts will be able to target their Title I funds: (1.) U.S. Department of Education Guidance and (2.) state plan development.
The U.S. Department of Education continues to develop guidelines on a wide range of topics from school improvement to the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant Program to support how federal funds such as Title I will be spent. In addition, ESSA requires that states develop state-specific goals for student achievement and their plans for achieving these goals with input from stakeholders.
“In addition, ESSA requires that states develop state-specific goals for student achievement and their plans for achieving these goals with input from stakeholders.”
In my role as a policy analyst, all the actions being taken by the U.S. Department of Education and the states spark countless questions. What does all this mean for Title I funding? How are the supplement-not-supplant regulations changing? Will new opportunities be available to meet students’ needs? If so, what new opportunities will be available? Do the requirements for school-wide and targeted programs change?
What questions do you have? This is your chance to ask a Title I Coordinator. Please join me; Diana Pena, Title I Coordinator for El Paso ISD (Texas); Jan Bryan, National Education Officer at Renaissance; and Jennifer Grimes, Senior Governmental Affairs and Policy Analyst at Renaissance on November 15 for a free, live webinar – Title I and ESSA: Answers to Your Questions on Coming Changes.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you in the comments below, or you can send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @RenLearnUS and use #TitleITalk. I am looking forward to hearing from you and providing answers to your questions on November 15.
Laura Shtaida fostered her interest in public policy by studying political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2008, she joined Renaissance where she monitors education policy in all 50 states as a Governmental Affairs and Policy Analyst.