NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Using Title I To Fund School Choice

September 20, 1999

Some members of Congress are pushing a plan to let states and school districts use some federal education money for "portable" vouchers. The funds would be provided under Title I -- the federal government's largest education program -- which provides $8 billion a year to local schools.

Title I is up for renewal this year and the voucher plan is included in a bill to be introduced soon by Sen. Judd Gregg (R- N.H.). Title I funds currently go straight to schools with allocations based on the number of low-income students who attend.

  • Under the new proposal, states choosing to participate would give poor students a voucher to buy extra services -- such as after-school help at any public school or private tutoring.
  • States that offer students portable vouchers under Title I would receive enough money to serve all students -- rather than the two-thirds of children who now get the aid.
  • States that take part would have to let all parents choose the public schools their offspring attend.
  • States would be required to set goals for raising student achievement and provide performance data on Title I students.

Republican staffers are trying to craft legislative language that would attract reluctant Democrats. But political observers say that will not be an easy sell.

Source: Tyce Palmaffy, "Big Boost for School Choice?" Investor's Business Daily, September 20, 1999.


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