Title I grants, authorized under No Child Left Behind, provide funds to local school districts to improve the education of disadvantaged students from birth through the 12th grade.
It is the largest federal program supporting elementary and secondary education and was funded at $14.5 billion in fiscal year 2012. Funds are distributed to school districts according to a set of formulas based on the size and characteristics of a school district’s student population. School districts have some discretion in how they distribute Title I funds among schools within the district, but the law requires them to prioritize the highest-poverty schools. More than 50,000 schools (almost half of all public schools) receive Title I funds annually. Because Title I is NCLB’s largest program and most school districts receive some funding from it, the law’s requirements for annual testing, accountability, school improvement, and highly-qualified teachers are all part of Title I.