Sometimes when we focus on one particular aspect of our society, we miss the bigger picture. For example, on this blog, education is our main topic. But one cannot discuss education right now without noticing that everything that is going on in education is connected to something much bigger, much more malevolent.
I attended a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night. I attend every meeting I can because it’s important to listen to what is said and presented. Generally, this may seem harmless and of little consequence, but it rarely is.
I walked in the meeting while the principal of a local elementary school was talking about her school and all the great things going on there. But it was one statement that really struck me. She said that her school now had 41% of the student population that qualified for free and reduced meals. This means that her school will now qualify as a Title One school. She was very excited about this.
You might not understand what that means, because most people outside education don’t know what Title One means. To put it simply, if you are a Title One student, your family is considered by the Federal Government to be too poor to pay for school meals partially or in total. For school systems, Title One means big bucks.
Historically, Title One is a government program that has been around since 1965 when it was passed by Congress and signed into law by Lyndon Johnson. You remember President Johnson as the President who started “The Great Society” and the welfare program. Here is the text of the original description:
As you can see, the program was designated to help the children of low-income families. The premise was that poor children were subject to the worst schools and were at a disadvantage educationally.
It was a noble cause and was based on truth. The poorer the neighborhood, the worse the school. But, as we know, despite intent, most government programs never stay focused on their original intent or population. They expand exponentially.
In 2001, the government created two different programs, the targeted assistance program and the school wide program. Approximately 35% of Title One schools operate as targeted assistance schools which means aid is given to a specific group of students in the school. The rest of the Title One schools are school wide programs, meaning the entire school is involved. Consider these two levels as Title One Lite and regular strength.
In a targeted assistance school, students who need services are identified by staff. Schools can provide academic assistance, can hire extra staff, offer one on one tutoring, etc. only for those students. These are schools that do not hit the 40% poverty threshold.
In a school wide program, money can be spent for extra teachers, staff, etc. to help all students based on need and not necessarily financial status. These are schools that hit the poverty level of at least 40% of their students from poor families. An extensive plan must have been created in consultation with the LEA and the school support personnel for upgrading the overall school academic program. Parents and other community fellows, teachers, principals, administrators, technical assistance staff, school staff, and students must be included in planning.* Just so you know, academic planning doesn’t just include reading, writing, math, etc. It includes all the “woke” agenda woven into classrooms.
Although the Title One program is federal, money is dispersed to districts to use as they see fit as long as they operate within the Title One guidelines.
In 2022, Title One takes on a special significance because the level of poverty in a school can make a school a “Community School” with many extra bells and whistles. For example, a school will have medical services, more staff, adult education options, job training got parents, expanded pre-K, higher pay for staff, and basically one stop shopping for services. A system that has more Title One schools gets a higher percentage of other federal funds as well.
This is why a principal might be happy to have more poor kids in her school. It’s estimated that by 2027, one third of schools in Maryland will be community schools because of Title One designation. That’s a lot of extra money to spend.
Currently, the United States spends $14 billion federal dollars annually on Title One schools. The Biden Administration and Congress have increased that by $20 billion. That’s huge money and a great payoff for schools and of course, the Unions. This is why National Education Association President Becky Pringle said that President Biden and his administration are fulfilling their promise to improve the lives of the country’s most vulnerable households by providing funding that genuinely prioritizes them. Indeed, Title One investment is a continued devotion to creating a better nation for everyone through education (National Education Association, 2021). Regardless of the concentration of poverty in American schools, the fund brings kids at least a step closer to a bright future.
And it gives more money to the Unions and Ms. Pringle. Apparently, their current assets of over a half billion are just not enough to pay the bills and assure their power in government.
In 2017, Maryland schools received $2048.00 per Title One Child. Talbot County received $1621.00 per Title One child. This was five years ago. This is ON TOP of State funding.
In the meeting the other night, the Superintendent noted that every elementary school in our county was now designated as a Title One school. This seems odd in a district where the median income is $73,000 and is considered one of the wealthiest counties in our state. Just a few short years ago, only ONE elementary school was considered a Title One school. Now it is all of them. How did each elementary school suddenly have 40% of students that come from households that are considered poor?
According to Federal Guidelines, the threshold for reduced meals has gone from $37000 annual income for a family of four in 2006, to $49,025 in 21/22 to $51,000 in 22/23, a $14,000 increase. For free meals it has gone from $26,000 for a family of four in 2006, to $34,450 in 21/22 to $36,000 in 22/23, a $10,000 increase. As a comparison, the median income in Talbot County in 2016 – 2021 was approximately $73,000 and the per capita income during the same time was $49,193. The percent of the population classified as “in poverty” was 9.6%. However, the calculation for the percent of students in the poverty level is not calculated by the number of poor households whose kids attend a school, but by what percentage of children in the that school come from poor homes. So, one poor household can account for multiple children counted as poor. It’s an interesting way to calculate the percentage.
While much of the free and reduced income threshold could be tied to inflation rate, the lowering of the threshold does not directly connect to higher inflation until this year. Of course the very agencies lowering the poverty threshold are part of the administration causing the inflation.
The bottom line is if you are in the public education business, the more poor students in your school the better. It used to be educators celebrated the academic achievement of their students, and they still do to the extent they can since scores are abysmal, but now they have a bigger celebration of the poverty of their students and the money those students can bring with them.
More poor students are a big win for school systems, giving them more money, more services, and more control over people. It’s an interesting concept that feeds into the creation of “Community Schools.” Here is a description of “Community Schools.”
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As you can see, Community Schools will allow more free services to people, and the more free stuff we give to people via the schools, the more we lock them into government control. This is all happening while public schools are losing students to private schools and homeschooling over indoctrination and vaccine/ mask mandates. With over 28,000 (3%) of Maryland students leaving the public schools since the Pandemic, the education establishment wants to “stop the bleeding” of students leaving. They also don’t want to lose funding that comes with them. As any government establishment, educators and teachers’ unions work hard to assure there is a certain population who can’t or won’t leave, poor kids and special education students. That’s another reason why schools love Title One.
The CDC vote last week to approve the addition of the untested Covid 19 vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule will cause some states to mandate the shot for any child attending public schools. Since Community Schools will be in place, they will not just mandate it, but have a mechanism to deliver it, with or without parental permission, to students. This could prompt another large exodus especially with new information coming out each day about the vaccine’s dangerous effects on kids and the fact that kids are not in danger from Covid.
Families who are hooked on the freebies in their community schools via Title One will not be able to leave, nor will they have anywhere to go. Poor families will be held hostage by the public schools to keep districts from losing federal and state funds.
I believe the average teacher, principal, administrator in the school system has good intent when discussing Title One. After all, they are tasked with educating children, rich or poor. In some ways, I see them as a victim of the system as much as the students. They are stuck in a vicious cycle of Title One funding that does very little or nothing to help students academically as proven by weak test scores. Without strong academics, their students will not have good jobs when adults and will force their children into the same system.
If you think about it, it’s the same vicious cycle created by the “Great Society” welfare state created in the 60’s. It keeps poor people poor and creates more poor people.
What Is a Title 1 School? A Guide to Funding Benefits & Requirements | Research.com
U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Talbot County, Maryland
U.S. Public Education Spending Statistics for 2022 | Research.com
Title I funding for schools: Interactive maps show your state’s stakes (journalistsresource.org)
Test Score Release in Maryland: Edit Post ‹ Radio Free Oxford — WordPress.com
Teachers Unions: Edit Post ‹ Radio Free Oxford — WordPress.com
Title I | Talbot County Public Schools (tcps.k12.md.us) * The list of Title One schools does not include the school mentioned at the BOE meeting on October 19. This school was just added.
Info on the CDC vote to add Covid to the Childhood Immunization Schedule: LIVESTREAM REPLAY: CDC Covid Vax Mandate For Children, Dr. Meryl Nass, David Bell – CD Media (creativedestructionmedia.com)