Are there any constraints or need for improvements in Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that affect Hispanic children?
Title 1(A) Section 1001 (2) is the statement of purpose directly addressing the educational needs of "Limited English" and "migratory children" which was designed to target Hispanic immigrant children. Subsection (3) states the purpose is designed to close the achievement gap between minority and nonminority children. The mission of these purpose statements was to ensure a quality education for all children attending school regardless of their legal or home circumstances. However, by including generic language such as "minority" and "migratory" the bill gives educators and state representatives ways to manipulate how they address the mission statement. One major piece of the puzzling missing is the absence of a statement of intention or purpose on teaching or elevating the English language proficiency of schools. Without being proficient in the language it will be difficult to achieve similar standards.
Another problem with the Title is in how the funds are distributed. The first priority is low achieving schools; however, it is incumbent upon the state to determine the status of the funding. If the state decides it is too much money, then the state is free to divert the remaining amount. This allows states to undercut the federal mandate and divert money away from traditionally Hispanic schools.
The title continues to expound on the equality of education via standards set forth in subjects and testing measurements, but again fails to provide for English educational equality or improvement. This failure is also seen in the manner the Title addresses the relationship between the school and parents. There is an effort to get parents involved, but without some statement on schools learning to communicate with parents of limited English, then their involvement will necessarily be limited.
The final failure of the Title noted is Section 1114, which details school wide programs where schools are authorized to use funds to assist low income families. The biggest danger in this area is the schools are not required to identify students who need assistance. A child may not know they qualify or should qualify due to frequent moves or language barriers.
The biggest single improvement to the Title would require schools to provide some English proficiency programs to ensure language equality among all students. This would include English as a Second Language (ESL) programs and some way to reach parents of these children as well. Secondary objects would be to better identify children who qualify for school wide funding programs and a centralization of these funds to ensure continuation during frequent moves.