Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Use this quick guide to go directly to the section you’re most interested in.
- Title I is the longest, toughest slog. It contains important information on parent involvement in public education, programs on the development of reading skills, the education of migratory children, provisions for at-risk kids, and advanced placement testing. Mixed in are a lot of rules regarding grant applications by local and state education agencies which aren’t really relevant to individuals.
- Title II covers funding used to train teachers and principals. It covers specific programs, like Troops-to-Teachers that help veterans get accreditation for civilian teaching jobs, or the National Writing Project or STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) education, or teachers who use technology to help them teach.
- Title III addresses Limited English Learners who want to get up to speed in English as well as native speakers of English who seek instruction in global languages.
- Title IV addresses non-curricular parts of school culture that nevertheless are important part of the school day. These parts of the law address safety issues, from student health and freedom from drug or alcohol abuse, to gun-free and smoke-free zones.
- Title V emphasizes parental choice among types of schools, and covers charter schools, which are hybrid public- and private-funded schools that operate under different rules than existing public schools. Also covered here: gifted and talented education, magnet schools, women’s education equity, and physical education. It’s a bit of a catch-all category.
- Title VI talks about flexibility and accountability–again, aimed more at state and local educational agencies that receive federal money. There is one section on calculation of Adequate Yearly Progress, i.e., standardized testing, which is worth looking at, as is the section on Rural Schools.
- Title VII addresses the education of children who are Native Hawaiian, Native Alaskan, or belong to an American Indian nation. Native people have a different relationship to the federal government that takes into account that recognized tribes have treaties and other kinds of historically-based agreements with the federal government.
- Title VIII covers federal payments to a very small number of schools which sound like a one-time peculiarity of funding issues relating to those schools. More broadly, this part of the law allows for federal emergency grants to schools to fix school facilities under certain conditions (if no other way of funding it, such as a bond measure, is possible).
- Title IX gives attention to the federal government’s limited oversight into private schools. This part also addresses rules governing school prayer, equal access to school facilities (such as in school athletic programs where inequality between boys’ and girls’ athletic teams is often an issue), and armed forces recruiting.
- Title X is again a catch-all area that contains amendments and repeals of sections of prior law. Here you’ll find tweaks to education laws pertaining to homeless children, American Indian children (as it intersects with the Bureau of Indian Affairs), and laws having to do with teacher training.