Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965


The single largest source of federal support for K-12 education is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Born as part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty in 1965, this $11-billion-a-year Act has been sending federal assistance to poor schools, communities, and children for nearly 30 years.

Twenty years of research and the experiences of dedicated and creative practitioners have contributed to the U.S. Department of Education's elementary and secondary education reform legislation -- including the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (Goals 2000), the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA), and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. Goals 2000 helps states and communities establish a framework for comprehensive, standards-based education reform for all students. The IASA provides additional support and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act helps build additional pathways to enable all children to meet challenging state standards.

The Act in Historical Context

ESEA (1965) is part of a long history of acts related to education:

Public Law Title
105-394 The Assistive Technology Act, to support State programs to address the assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities.
105-332 Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational & Applied Technology Education Amendments of 1998.
105-277 The 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, including the FY99 Budget for the Department of Education. The Reading Excellence Act and legislation authorizing the class size reduction initiative were also included.
105-244 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, addressing the student financial aid program, all higher education grant programs, the Gear-Up college mentoring program and the Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships and additional higher education initiatives.
105-220 Workforce Investment Partnership Act of 1998
105-78 The FY98 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bill
105-34 The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, including the Hope Scholarship and Lifelong Learning Tax Credits.
105-33 A bill to provide for spending reconciliation according to the Balanced Budget Agreement. This bill sets forth spending levels for the federal government for FY98.
105-18 A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1997. This bill includes funding for the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education.
105-17 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), to reauthorize and make improvements to that Act which is designed to improve access to education for those with disabilities.
104-319 Human Rights, Refugee and Other Foreign Relations Provisions Act of 1996 (contains authorities for Pell Institute, George Bush School of Government, Muskie Foundation and Coolidge Foundation)
104-208 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997 (includes the Departmentís FY 97 appropriations; transfers library programs to new institute)
104-134 Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (includes EDs FY 96 appropriations, amendments to GOALS 2000, and education reform provisions for D.C.)
103-382 Improving Americaís Schools Act (reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA], covers Title I, Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Eisenhower Professional Development, bilingual education, impact aid, charter schools, education technology and many other programs; also reauthorized the National Center for Education Statistics, amended General Education Provisions Act [GEPA] and several other acts.)
103-239 School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994
103-227 GOALS 2000: Educate America Act (also included reauthorization of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement [OERI])
103-218 Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1994
103-73 Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1993
103-66 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Included the Student Loan Reform Act of 1993 which established the Federal Direct Student Loan Program)
103-33 To authorize the conduct and development of NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) assessments for fiscal year 1994
102-569 Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1992
102-545 Ready to Learn Act
102-421 Education of the Deaf Act Amendments of 1992
102-325 Higher Education Amendments of 1992
102-119 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1991 (IDEA)
102-73 National Literacy Act of 1991
101-645 Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1990
101-476 Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1990
101-392 Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments of 1990
100-407 Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988
100-297 Adult Education Act Amendments
99-371 Education of the Deaf Act
98-524 Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act
96-88 Department of Education Organization Act
93-112 Rehabilitation Act of 1973
92-318 Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education)
90-247 Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1967 (Title IV of this act is known as the General Education Provisions Act [GEPA])
89-750 Elementary and Secondary Amendments of 1966 (Adult Education Act is Title III)
89-329 Higher Education Act of 1965
88-352 Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title IV covers education)
74-732 Randolph-Sheppard Act (Provided authority for blind-operated vending facilities on federal property)

ESEA as Amended


The Improving America's Schools Act of 1994, enacted on October 20, 1994 (P.L. 103-382), reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), with a focus on changing the way we deliver education, encouraging comprehensive systemic school reform, upgrading instructional and professional development to align with high standards, strengthening accountability, and promoting the coordination of resources to improve education for ALL children.

This guidance shows how the Title VI--Innovative Education Program Strategies program (Title VI) working in tandem with the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the other ESEA programs can contribute to the support that States, local school districts and schools will need to better enable all children to achieve to high standards.

Research supports that the following four principles are considered key to any comprehensive educational improvement effort: 1) high standards for all students; 2) teachers better trained to teach to high standards; 3) flexibility to stimulate local initiative coupled with responsibility for results; and 4) promoting partnerships among families, communities and schools.

SEAs, LEAs and schools are encouraged to realize fully the potential of the ESEA by incorporating these four principles in their school reform efforts. The Department believes that by focusing resources around these key principles for educational improvement, the ESEA substantially contributes to advancing the quality of teaching and learning for ALL students.

High Standards for All Students

A clear definition of what all students need to know and be able to do should drive the entire education system.

All children can and must be taught to use complex skills. Instruction too often means merely filling out endless drill and practice worksheets, especially for low-income and low achieving children. Indeed, even when technology is used in teaching these children, it is often little more than computerized drill and practice.

The ESEA advances the concept that all children must have the experiences of reading novels, creating stories, tackling multi-step mathematics problems, and designing and conducting science experiments. There must be progress toward acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary for achieving challenging standards. The ESEA emphasizes that all children must learn problem solving skills which will prepare them for success in a constantly changing technological world.

Professional Development Tied to High Standards

Professional development for educators is a critical element in helping them to enable students to achieve higher standards. Professional development must focus upon the best of an array of high performance instructional strategies - individual and team learning, team teaching, writing across subject areas, active applied learning, interdisciplinary instruction, in-depth and long-term projects, and other new technologies. The ESEA provides the opportunity to change the typical one-time program or activity approach to staff development. It empowers States to design in-depth, sustained, high-quality professional development programs that are connected to overall school-wide improvement strategies to give teachers and other educators the knowledge and skills necessary to provide all children the opportunity to meet challenging academic standards. The Eisenhower Professional Development Program (Title II of the ESEA) and Title VI, working together, can serve as one of the vehicles to coordinate and integrate activities to support this kind of professional development.

Flexibility in Exchange for Results

The reauthorized ESEA represents a shift from narrowly categorical, disconnected education programs that often impeded innovation and coordination to flexible connected programs that promote system-wide reforms based on challenging academic standards for all students. The new legislation provides greater decision-making authority to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance. Emphasizing results, the ESEA imposes fewer burdens and requirements for SEAs and LEAs. Similarly, it promotes increased flexibility through waivers, consolidated applications, redirection of resources, and coordinated services.

The Department believes that the ESEA programs, together with the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act, provide significant flexibility and resources to States and local school districts, schools, and communities to support systemic educational reform.

Partnerships Among Families, Communities, Schools

The ESEA advocates that the system at every level, including the Federal level, work together to move all children toward meeting challenging standards. No longer can the success of individual educational programs and activities be the singular objective for marking educational improvement. Programs working together within a comprehensive plan for enabling all students to achieve high standards should be the goal, with educators responsible for the progress students are making toward reaching the standards.

Program Overview

Title VI of the reauthorized ESEA replaces Chapter 2 of Title I of the former ESEA (Chapter 2). Congress authorized Title VI to encourage SEAs and LEAs to focus upon the relationship between programs under Title VI and reform efforts under Goals 2000: Educate America Act (Goals 2000) as well as other State and local school reform efforts.

Programs under Title VI have the following purposes:

These purposes should serve as the starting point for SEAs and LEAs in designing and implementing programs under Title VI.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA)

Source: http://www.ed.gov/CommInvite/esea.html; http://www.ed.gov/legislation/ESEA/brochure/iasa-bro.html; http://www.ed.gov/offices/OLCA/Handbook/publiclaws.html.