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Gail Sunderman, (410) 435-1207,
Dan Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Report Advancing Portable Title I Funding Problematic

A review finds it to be a polemic, designed to advance school choice and voucher policies

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Nov. 6, 2014) – In September, the Reason Foundation produced a report that argued for reforming federal Title I funding, making Title I funding portable so that it followed the child. The proposal would, perceivably, facilitate school choice policies. An academic review finds that the report ignores the complexity of Title I funding, provides no analysis for alleged Title I funding problems, ignores conflicting evidence, and uses rhetoric rather than evidence to support its position.

Gail Sunderman, Senior Research Scientist in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, and director of the Maryland Equity Project, reviewed Federal School Finance Reform: Moving Toward Title I Funding Following the Child for the Think Twice think tank review project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Sunderman's research has examined the implementation of federal education policy, including Title I programs and No Child Left Behind.

The report provided an overview of federal Title I funding, and attempted to examine problems with current funding.  Title I funding is the federal government's primary mechanism for improving education for disadvantaged children, a fundamental provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

In her review, Sunderman says "the report is little more than a polemic, using an eclectic assortment of disconnected facts and figures about Title I funding to promote choice and voucher policies."

Additionally, she finds that the report provides no evidence that its recommendations will improve student outcomes, and fails to consider the adverse impact on improving educational opportunities, a key tenet of Title I funding.

Regarding the report's use of research literature, she finds that it selectively cites research that supports its arguments while also ignoring contradictory evidence.

Sunderman, in her conclusion, states that the report "covers no new ground in the debate over choice policies, and is so poorly documented that it has nothing useful to offer policymakers or practitioners."

Read the full review at:

Find Federal School Finance Reform the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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