Call to Action: Title I Portability

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The ESEA reauthorization process continues to pick up speed. The House will be voting on an ESEA bill (the same bill that passed in 2013) the last week in February and the Senate Education Committee is expected to vote on an ESEA bill at the same time. While Senate leaders recently announced they will try and craft a bi-partisan ESEA bill, as it stands today, the bills under consideration in both chambers contain many critical policy changes that AASA members strongly support, but they also contain an unfortunate provision known as Title I portability.

Title I portability would afford states an option to have Title I dollars “follow the child” to a public school of their choice. This policy was originally intended to divert Title I dollars to private schools, but this policy push was unsuccessful, so proponents settled for making Title I dollars portable in public schools. Title I portability in public schools is problematic on a number of fronts: 

  1. Portability undermines Title I’s goal of addressing achievement gaps in poor schools
  2. Portability would deny district leaders the ability to effectively direct Title I funds to the students and schools who need dollars the most
  3. Portability places a significant administrative burden on districts to allocate resources on a per-child basis rather than on a program basis
  4. Districts with a poverty rate of more than 30 percent would lose money under portability, while districts with a poverty rate of under 15 percent would see dramatic increases in funding.
  5. Portability would eliminate the ability of districts to focus resources on a particular school or grade level since the dollars must “follow the child.”

To assist you with your advocacy, please review this one-pager that AASA developed for Hill staff about Title I portability. We also have a more comprehensive white paper that details the various flaws with portability. You can also download a one-page letter you can modify to send to your Congressional leaders outlining your concerns with the inclusion of Title I portability in ESEA.

We strongly encourage you to take the time to write your members of Congress today asking them to not support Title I Portability in a reauthorized ESEA. If you are unsure of how to contact your members of Congress, please use

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