NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Many Title I Aides Teach, Although Most Unqualified

August 16, 2000

Almost half the money from federal education programs is going to the poorest schools in the country, but those schools continue to lack qualified teachers and technological resources, says a new report from the Department of Education.

The report examined six federal programs, including the Title I program that allocates $8 billion each year to help disadvantaged children. The report was based on data from the 1997-1998 school year collected in 720 schools in 180 districts.

  • Half of the instructional workers supported by Title I money were teachers' aides.
  • Some 41 percent of these aides said that they spent at least half of their time teaching students on their own, without a teacher present.
  • Almost all of the teachers' aides in Title I schools had a high school diploma or an equivalent degree, but only 19 percent had a bachelor's degree -- only 10 percent in the schools with the highest poverty rates.

The federal government paid for almost a quarter of the computers schools received in the 1997-1998 school year, but "high-poverty schools had less access to technology than low-poverty schools in terms of the quantity, quality and connectivity of computers," the report said.

Furthermore, although secondary schools had a third of the country's more impoverished students, only 15 percent of Title I money went to those schools.

Source: Edward Wong, "Poorest Schools Lack Teachers and Computers," New York Times, August 13, 2000.

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