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Federal Aid and Equality of Educational Opportunity

Evidence From the Introduction of Title I in the South--Sarah Reber, Ph.D, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Feb 09, 2012 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-800)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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Title I of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act substantially increased federal aid for education, with the goal of expanding educational opportunity. Combining the timing of the program’s introduction with variation in its intensity, we find that Title I increased school spending by 46 cents on the dollar in the average school district in the South and increased spending nearly dollar-for-dollar in Southern districts with little scope for local offset. Based on this differential fiscal response, we find that increases in school budgets from Title I decreased high school dropout rates for whites, but not blacks.

Sarah Reber is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 2003. From 2003 to 2005, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at UC Berkeley.

Reber is an applied economist trained in public finance and labor economics, specializing in education and health policy. Her work in health economics examines the advantages and disadvantages of promoting competition in health insurance markets. Reber’s research in education focuses on understanding the educational, social, and fiscal effects—both intended and unintended—of some of the most important policies of the 20th century: school desegregation, the Civil Rights Act, and the massive expansion of federal aid to K-12 education that Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act represented. In addition, she is conducting a randomized-controlled trial of two interventions designed to increase college enrollment among disadvantaged students.


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