- Education Week reports that backers of educational choice aren’t satisfied with the options currently on the table in the ESEA rewrite passed by the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the portability of Title 1 funds.
- Thomas B. Fordham Institute President Michael J. Petrilli says there’s no strong argument for keeping the portability of Title 1, which allows funding for disadvantaged students to follow them to their choice of schools.
- Title I aid per student can reach $3,000 annually, and removing portability would likely negatively impact cities with high poverty rates.
The management and flow of Title 1 dollars, known as portability, has long been a point of contention in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) rewrite. The current version is pared down from a previous one that would have allowed funds to be distributed to private and religious schools as well as public.
President Barack Obama has stated that he would veto any version of the bill including portability, and the White House has long held the position that portability would disproportionately have a negative impact on large districts with a high percentage of low-income students. For example, according to a February 2015 Education Trust analysis, some high-poverty districts in Pennsylvania could lose up to 21% of their Title 1 funding.
ESEA’s reauthorization has been a long and “arduous” process, and the portability debate is one of few items that has remained on center-stage, alongside debate over federally mandated accountability measures and school vouchers. Moving forward, both Republicans, Democrats, and unions all seem to agree on one thing: The current Title 1 portability clause isn’t satisfactory.