NDRN, Civil Rights Advocates Call for Clarity on Key Education Rule

classroom of kids and teacher

by Andy Jones
November 28, 2016

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in a letter submitted to the Department of Education on November 7, urges support and further improvements to proposed changes to the “supplement, not supplant” rule for Title I schools.

The proposal is part of the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, passed by Congress last year as a replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act, and the latest incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Schools designated as Title I schools, due to having high numbers or high percentages of students from low-income households, receive additional funding from the DOE. The “supplement, not supplant,” rule aims to ensure that school districts receiving Title I funds use the funds to supplement funds from state and local funding sources, as opposed to in place of them.

Despite the rules' intentions, an estimated 3.3 million children are attending Title I schools receiving less funding from state and local funding sources than their peers within their own school districts, the Leadership Conference stated in the letter.

The proposed regulations, published in the Federal Register on September 6, would add up to $2 billion in additional funding for Title I schools. Even more critically, it would require school districts for the first time to demonstrate their compliance with the “supplement, not supplant” requirement, according to a DOE fact sheet accompanying the rules.

While applauding the overall goal, the advocates worry that the regulations, as proposed, provided too many ways for educational institutions to prove compliance, potentially diluting the proposal’s effectiveness.

“While we believe the (notice of proposed rule making) is a step in the right direction and an improvement over the status quo, the rule provides multiple options for compliance that would necessarily ensure that each Title I school receives at least as much actual funding as the average of non-Title I schools…,” the letter states. “We urge the final rule to clearly state that, no matter the method used for distributing state and local funds to schools, the result is such that Title I schools have at least as much actual funding as do the average of all non-Title I schools.”

Twenty five organizations, including the National Disability Rights Network, signed onto the letter.

The full letter can be read here [PDF].

Disability Rights Washington is the designated protection and advocacy agency in Washington and a member of the National Disability Rights Network.