From the Field

Improving Title II of the Elementary and Secondary School Act

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As the Trump administration proposes eliminating all funding for Title II of the federal education law, this report from the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching provides important context for what Title II supports and how it could be improved.

Nearly every state and school district in the nation receives a portion of the more than $2 billion appropriated under the program annually to strengthen the teaching workforce. The bulk of the funding—some 75 percent—is spent on professional development and class-size reduction. Yet there is little proof that spending money on these activities improves the education system. Professional development runs the gamut of effectiveness from one-off, district-wide workshops to ongoing, one-on-one instructional coaching; for Title II purposes, all professional development is equal, with no way to tell what specific opportunities states and districts are providing for teachers.

And, where it has been rigorously examined, reducing class size has seen mixed results, with larger benefits for younger grades and for classes that are drastically reduced in size, but smaller or no gains for older students or smaller-scale reductions. In short, there is not much evidence that Title II consistently improves teaching quality or student learning.

Carnegie’s report explores how to improve this potentially powerful policy instrument.