Education Policy: Research: Historical Overview: Johnson:

Federal Education Policy and the States, 1945-2009

The Johnson Years: ESEA Title I - Provisions

Title I aimed to improve not only educational opportunities, but also educational outcomes, for disadvantaged children. The emphasis on aid to "children, not schools" meant that federal funds could be (and were) spent on instruction, not just construction, in local districts. Besides textbooks and teachers-two items little supported by prior federal aid programs-the ESEA also provided aid for technology in local classrooms. The idea of "technological poverty" gained ground in the mid-1960s as a criterion of educational disadvantage, the assumption being that a lack of access to new technology led to a lack of access to economic opportunity. Title II of the ESEA therefore provided federal grants to improve library resources and multi-media equipment, Title III provided federal grants to improve language acquisition, Title IV provided federal grants to support research on effective teaching strategies, and Title V funded the expansion of state departments of education. Each title funneled previously unimaginable sums of aid into schools, and each was expected to produce results in terms of academic performance. The main stipulation underlying the ESEA was that schools receiving federal grants had to help children overcome the effects that poverty had on learning.


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