Title 1 is the largest federal aid program for public schools in the United States. Today, Title 1 is part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) but originated from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”. This landmark educational bill, passed during Johnson’s “Great Society”, changed the funding of school districts from a local level to a national responsibility. Title 1 provides federal funds to schools with high percentages of low-income students. These funds pay for extra educational services to help atrisk students achieve and succeed regardless of any disadvantages through no fault of their own.
Title I is a federal entitlement program that gives funds to schools in need based on student enrollment, the free and reduced lunch percentage for each school, and other informative data. The US Department of Education distributes Title 1 funds to State Departments of Education that, in turn, distribute the funds to individual school districts. Each school district divides its funding among qualifying schools based on their numbers of low-income children. In addition, under Title 1, participating school districts must provide supplemental educational services for eligible private school students.
Nationwide, some 50,000 public schools (14.9 million or 64% of students) from preschool to high school receive Title 1 funds. However, most of the students served through Title 1 are in grades 1-6, while another 12% are in preschool and kindergarten. An astounding 58% of all public schools in the US receive Title 1 funding.