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All4Ed’s Joint Letter to Secretary Cardona Regarding Title I Equity Grants in the FY22 Budget

While All4Ed appreciates the increase to Title I funding in the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, which puts the Administration on a path to fulfilling its promise to triple Title I funding, we also believe it is critical that these funds are coupled
with new policies that drive resource equity so that schools can meet the needs of underserved students.

In particular, to ensure that this investment has a meaningful and long-term impact to help correct funding inequities and create high-quality learning experiences for underserved students, the investment should meet three critical conditions:

  1. Allocate Equitably: Title I is an essential federal program whose historic purpose is to provide additional funding for students from low-income backgrounds in areas with high concentrations of poverty. While research is clear that students from low-income backgrounds need additional funding, the distribution of Title I funds could be better targeted toward that goal. The $20 billion investment should be allocated in a manner that is more targeted to school districts and schools with the highest concentrations of poverty than Title I distribution has been to date;
  2. Advance State and Local Resource Equity: The vast majority — more than 90% — of direct funding for elementary and secondary education comes from states and districts. School funding gaps are driven by these state and local dollars. The $20 billion investment should be accompanied by policies that drive state and district leaders to remedy resource inequities in their existing school funding systems; and
  3. Recognize the Varied Needs of Underserved Students and Communities: State and district leaders should be expected to target their funds to improve education in the neediest schools (e.g., through meaningful enforcement of the supplement not supplant provision of Title I) and to invest in evidence-based uses; however, they must also have the flexibility to use these dollars in ways that meet the specific needs of their underserved students. The $20 billion investment should ensure that allowable uses promote evidenced-based practices while remaining flexible and responsive to local needs.

Download the full letter below.