The State of Educational Improvement: The Legacy of ESEA Title I

Susan Moffitt
Year of publication
History of Education Quarterly
Title I has a mixed legacy that poses a paradox. Part of that legacy has yielded tremendous accomplishments. Title I asserted a federal priority to help disadvantaged students and broke with long resistance to a significant federal role in elementary and secondary schooling. It has deepened and expanded government responsibility and management of schooling at all levels—federal, state, and local. Over time, it has helped sweep schools, regardless of their student population's poverty levels, into the broader national standards‐accountability movement, most recently expressed in the Common Core. While resistance to some aspects of federal authority remains, and may have intensified, Title I has developed durable constituencies and appetites for federal funds. Improving the education of children who live in poverty remains politically salient. These are remarkable accomplishments. And these accomplishments are intimately intertwined with other policies, including the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which facilitated the passage of other legislation, such as Head Start and Title I. Title I's legacy is intertwined in other ways, beyond its connections with contemporaneous policies; and these dependencies will be the focus of my remarks today.

Suggested Citation

Moffitt, S. (2016). The State of Educational Improvement: The Legacy of ESEA Title I. History of Education Quarterly, 56(2), 375-381