Education Policy: Research: Historical Overview: Clinton:

Federal Education Policy and the States, 1945-2009

The Clinton Years: IASA and School to Work

To support efforts in low-performing schools and districts and to reduce the unintended consequences of pull-out programs (which required Title I-eligible students to be separated from others for instruction), the 1994 reauthorization made it easier for schools to use Title I funds for schoolwide programs. In the past, only schools in which 75 percent of the students were poor could use Title I funds for such programs. The legislation lowered the threshold to 50 percent.

IASA also focused Title I funds on the schools and districts with the poorest student populations. Access to these funds had traditionally been based on a combination of poverty and low performance. However, this system-while targeting funds to those in most serious need-had given some schools the perverse incentive to keep scores low in order to retain much-needed federal funds. Along the same lines as other changes, IASA permitted larger numbers of schools to depend on funding that could be used for systemic, rather than narrowly targeted, improvement efforts.

Though the federal contribution to education in 1994 remained low-about 7 percent of education funding in most states-the federal government was increasing its demands on state and local education agencies in exchange for federal dollars. This growing federal role in shaping education for all students provided the basis for increased federal funding in the years 1995-2000 and foreshadowed the even larger impact sought by Clinton's successor.

Also passed in 1994 was the School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STWOA), jointly administered by the Departments of Education and Labor to provide work experience for high school and post-high school students. This program also followed the new, less structured, more system-focused plans of the Clinton administration. Funds disbursed under the program were to help states develop systems that would link school and work experiences. The combination of school and work would result in both a high school diploma and a certificate documenting a student's experience with a particular work skill. Consistent with systemic reform, programs funded by STWOA had to be linked to the state's educational standards. Like the Goals 2000 grants, the STWOA grants were frequently used by states to fund initiatives that were under way or areas of need that had been previously identified.


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