32 states and the District of Columbia have been granted waivers from ESEA provisions. These states must follow the equitable participation requirements for students and teachers in private and religious schools:
The U.S. Department of Education has been granting SEAs and LEAs waivers from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive State-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. These waivers impact the expenditure of funds which may be transferred among programs. These are focused on public school needs – but may impact the equitable participation of private school students and teachers. The U.S. Department of Education has issued Guidance Documents that address the equitable participation provisions. The pertinent responses, and links to the documents, are listed below.
A-17. May the Secretary waive the requirements for an LEA to provide for the equitable participation of private school students and teachers?
ESEA Flexibility FAQs Addendum. No. Under ESEA section 9401(c)(5), the Secretary may not waive any statutory or regulatory requirement related to the equitable participation of private school students, teachers, and families.
B-22. What are the responsibilities of an SEA or LEA for the provision of equitable services to private school children and teachers with respect to funds being transferred?
ESEA Flexibility FAQs: Each program covered by the transferability authority is subject to equitable participation requirements, which may not be waived (see ESEA section 9401(c)(5)). Before an SEA or LEA may transfer funds, it must engage in timely and meaningful consultation with appropriate private school officials (ESEA sections 6123(e)(2) and 9501). With respect to the transferred funds, the SEA or LEA must provide private school students and teachers equitable services under the program(s) to which, and from which, the funds are transferred, based on the total amount of funds available to each program after the transfer.
B-10a. Are the Title I, Part A funds that an LEA would otherwise spend for choice-related transportation and supplemental educational services (SES) or for professional development in LEAs identified for improvement subject to the requirements to provide equitable services to eligible private school children, their teachers, and their families?
ESEA Flexibility FAQs Addendum Yes, to the same extent and under the same conditions as regular Title I, Part A funds. In general, an LEA allocates its Title I, Part A funds in two ways: it allocates the majority of those funds to its Title I schools consistent with ESEA section 1113(c); and it reserves some funds off the top of its allocation under 34 C.F.R. § 200.77 for both required and permissible activities. An LEA’s responsibility to provide equitable services to eligible elementary and secondary private school children, their teachers, and their families depends on the nature of the services provided. Equitable services apply to funds an LEA allocates to its Title I schools under ESEA section 1113(c). They also apply to off-the-top reservations that provide district-wide services to Title I schools. However, they do not apply to reservations from which an LEA provides services to a subgroup of students—e.g., homeless students, neglected and delinquent students—or if an LEA focuses the reserved funds on a specific subset of low-performing schools—e.g., schools in restructuring—because public Title I school students as a whole do not benefit from those services either. Accordingly, with respect to Title I, Part A funds freed up from not needing to meet the 20 percent obligation or the set aside for professional development under ESEA flexibility, the responsibility to provide equitable services depends on how an LEA uses those funds. If, for example, the LEA allocates the funds under ESEA section 1113(c) to its Title I schools, it must also provide equitable services with the funds. Similarly, if the LEA uses the freed up funds for an off-the-top reservation to provide summer school or professional development to all its Title I schools, or all its Title I schools at a particular grade level, the requirement to provide equitable services would apply. On the other hand, if the LEA uses funds from an off-the-top reservation to implement interventions in its priority and/or focus schools, the equitable services requirement would not apply.
B-10b. Must an LEA consult with private school officials prior to deciding how to use Title I, Part A funds that may be freed up if the LEA is no longer required to meet the requirements in ESEA section 1116?
ESEA Flexibility FAQs Addendum Yes. Under ESEA section 1120(b), an LEA must consult with private school officials during the design and development of the LEA’s Title I, Part A programs. That consultation must include meetings of LEA and private school officials and must occur before the LEA makes any decision that affects the opportunity of eligible private school children to participate in Title I, Part A programs, including decisions regarding the use of funds freed up under ESEA section 1116.
The ESEA reauthorization efforts are focused primarily on improving under-performing public schools. The private school lobbying efforts continue for the equitable inclusion of its students and teachers in all programs that have served them well in the past. The challenge will be to create pathways for inclusion that will respect the uniqueness and independence of the Catholic school and avoid having to compromise and/or adopt public school mandates.
Legislators need to be reminded, by their constituents, of the importance of retaining the equitable inclusion of our students and teachers in the new law.
These are some of the talking points that should be included:
Since 1965, and in each subsequent reauthorization, ESEA has required the equitable inclusion of Catholic school students and their teachers. Currently, 80% of Catholic schools have students and teachers who participate in some ESEA programs.
Private school students should be included in all programs available to public school students similarly situated. Funds generated by private school students should be spent on them.
The proportinate share of funds allocated for services to private school students and teachers should be calculated based on the total allocation received by the SEA/LEA prior to any allowable expenditure by the SEA/LEA or any decison to transfer funds into other programs.
NCEA has joined with the other members of CAPE (Council for American Private Education) in developing legislative language to assure equitable participation of private and religious school students and teachers in ESEA reauthorization. The document can be accessed here.
When contacting lawmakers, discuss the importance of improving access for Catholic schools students and teachers to participate in federal education programs, especially in Titles I-A and II-A (professional development). The extra value of your comments rests in your ability to provide examples of your schools’ experiences, both positive and negative, with regard to the timeliness and effectiveness of consultation and implementation of services for your students and teachers.
If your school has experienced a steady decline in the amount of funding available for services, then describe the negative effects of the inadequate funding. If your allocations have remained steady and adequate, describe the progress made by students over the course of the year.
Anyone employee hired on or since April 3, 2009, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, must complete a newly revised Form I-9, Employment Verification form. If a previous version of the form was used for anyone hired within that time frame, it should be discarded and the new one completed. Other forms signed prior to April 3, 2009 remain in effect.
All I-9 forms must remain on file for three years from the date of employment, or for one year after termination of employment. They must be available for inspection by authorized officials of the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, and Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website contains details and links to the appropriate forms and instructions. Click here to be linked to that site.
In December 2006, Congress approved an extension of the tax deduction benefit for expenses incurred by teachers in public or private elementary and secondary schools.
Eligible educators may be able to deduct up to $250 for their non-reimbursed expenses for the purchases of for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services) and supplementary materials that are used in their classrooms.
Information from the IRS about the educator expenses deduction is available by clicking here.
National Study Comparing Public and Private Schools
On July 14, 2006, the National Center for Education Statistics released a study titled Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling that uses a sophisticated statistical analysis to examine the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores of public and private school students.
The study analyzed the 2003 grade 4 and grade 8 math and reading results on NAEP assessments and
examined the differences in mean scores after selected school and student characteristics that are presumed to advantage private school students are discounted. The analysis takes raw test scores from a single year and applies statistical controls for demographic factors like race, income, and disabilities.
This study looks at results on one test score at a given time – it does not measure progress over time. Single-year snapshots of test scores provide limited information about student achievement and nothing about the relative quality of public and private schools.
Although the NCES report contains a Cautions In Interpretations section advises that these statistical hypothetical results are of “modest value," the press coverage exaggerates a modest hypothetical difference to make the inferences that public schools perform better than private schools.
Click here to read an NCEA analysis of the report and a link to the full text of the document.
The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2000(Public Law 108-265) contains provisions that mandate the adoption of local wellness policies, effective at the start of the 2006-2007 academic year. All schools that participate in any of the federal nutrition programs (lunch, breakfast, milk) are required to develop a wellness policy.
The law addresses, primarily, local education agencies (LEAs) who are directed to adopt a district-wide policy for all of their schools. The guidance document, detailing how the requirements of the law are to be carried out, makes specific reference to its applicability to private and religious schools that participate in any of the programs authorized under the National School Lunch Act or Child Nutrition Act.
Each private school may adopt the policy of the local public school district, or develop it own policy, or a diocesan superintendent may develop a policy for all of its schools.
In order to address, and combat, the growing health crisis of childhood obesity the law mandates that the policy detail actions that will help schools foster a healthy environment that impacts favorably on students' nutrition and physical activity. A local wellness policy, at a minimum, must include:
Goals for nutrition education, physical activity and other school-based activities that are designed to promote student wellness in a manner that the local educational agency determines appropriate.
Guidelines for reimbursable school meals, which are no less restrictive than regulations and guidance issued by the Secretary of Agriculture pertaining to the Child Nutrition Act and the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.
Nutrition guidelines, with the objectives of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity, for all foods available on each school campus during the school day.
A plan for measuring the implementation of the local wellness policy, including designation of persons within the local educational agency or at each school with the operational responsibility for ensuring that the program goals are being met.
Opportunities for community involvement that include parents, students, and representatives of the school board, school administrators, and the public in the development of the school wellness policy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Local Wellness Policy website provides sample policy language for each of the policy components, including: nutrition education, physical activity, guidelines for all foods and beverages on school campuses as well as other school-based activities that promote student wellness. It is available at http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/Healthy/wellnesspolicy_faq.html#private