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Back to the Top Teaching Blog
September 6, 2017

The What and Why of Title II

By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    There’s been a lot of discussion about the potential education budget for the United States. Sometimes there’s so much information, it’s hard to tell what’s what. Lately, I’ve been interested in the push to save Title II funding. Here’s why it’s a hot topic and what exactly Title II can mean for education.

    What is Title II?

    The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the most recent reauthorization of the 1965 act that establishes the federal government’s role in education. Under ESSA, Title II authorizes programs to improve teaching and leadership through professional learning at the state and district levels. Under ESSA, professional development is more clearly defined and there are rules for evidence of learning. Specifically, Title II Part A is used to increase academic achievement of students by improving teachers and school leadership quality. You can read the Title II Part A details on the U.S. Department of Education’s website. As stated in Learning Forward’s report Why Professional Development Matters, “In education, research has shown that teaching quality and school leadership are the most important factors in raising student achievement.”

    Why Does It Matter?

    There is a September deadline for lawmakers to finalize their ESSA plans and for the federal government to decide how to fund ESSA programs for 2018. Last May, President Donald Trump’s initial budget planned to cut $9.2 billion from the Department of Education’s budget, including all of Title II Part A. Subsequent spending bills continued pushing for a cut of the $2.1 billion-dollar program.

    The problem this creates is that states need to create their ESSA plans without a real idea of how teacher professional development will be funded, if at all. Opponents of cutting Title II Part A say we need better accountability and tracking of professional development efforts, which ironically is what ESSA is supposed to provide.

    How It Impacts You

    Sometimes these big bills and laws seem so disconnected from the everyday issues of the classroom, but this is one case where you can see the connection. I promise you that you are likely to have benefited from Title II spending, even if you didn’t realize it. Just a few things these funds can be used for include:

    • Professional learning for all educators (including librarians, counselors, arts teachers, and paraprofessionals!)
    • Job-embedded activities
    • Teacher recruitment, training, and retention
    • Partnerships with higher education and high-needs districts
    • Grants to recruit, select, prepare, and provide professional development
    • Grants to enhance education preparation programs
    • Teacher mentoring and coaching
    • Enhancing principals through ongoing professional learning

    How to Learn More
    First, find out how much your state receives in Title II funds with this graphic from the Center for American Progress. You can also jump on Twitter to see what the latest chatter is on Title II. Check out the hashtags #TitleII #TitleIIA and #PD2Learn to get started.

    Many education organizations are equipping educators with need-to-know information about Title II funding. Whether you agree or disagree with the need for the funding, hearing from education professionals about the impact of Title II can help you understand the current news and debates. ASCD, a professional education organization with over 115,000 members in 128 countries, has a Title II Resources page offering fact and questions, social media graphics, and talking points about Title II. Learning Forward, a professional education organization focused on professional learning, has a Title II Advocacy page with a series of webinars, media, and Title II talking points. If Effective Teacher Professional Development is something you want to explore more, be sure to see the Learning Policy Institute’s report and webinar series.


    There’s no one way to tackle education spending, or a lack thereof, but being aware and informed is the first step. Check out my post “Be an Education Advocate: Learn, Connect, and Speak Up,” for ideas on how to make your voice heard, no matter if it’s Title II, arts education, or any other education passion that you care about. 

    There’s been a lot of discussion about the potential education budget for the United States. Sometimes there’s so much information, it’s hard to tell what’s what. Lately, I’ve been interested in the push to save Title II funding. Here’s why it’s a hot topic and what exactly Title II can mean for education.

    What is Title II?

    The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the most recent reauthorization of the 1965 act that establishes the federal government’s role in education. Under ESSA, Title II authorizes programs to improve teaching and leadership through professional learning at the state and district levels. Under ESSA, professional development is more clearly defined and there are rules for evidence of learning. Specifically, Title II Part A is used to increase academic achievement of students by improving teachers and school leadership quality. You can read the Title II Part A details on the U.S. Department of Education’s website. As stated in Learning Forward’s report Why Professional Development Matters, “In education, research has shown that teaching quality and school leadership are the most important factors in raising student achievement.”

    Why Does It Matter?

    There is a September deadline for lawmakers to finalize their ESSA plans and for the federal government to decide how to fund ESSA programs for 2018. Last May, President Donald Trump’s initial budget planned to cut $9.2 billion from the Department of Education’s budget, including all of Title II Part A. Subsequent spending bills continued pushing for a cut of the $2.1 billion-dollar program.

    The problem this creates is that states need to create their ESSA plans without a real idea of how teacher professional development will be funded, if at all. Opponents of cutting Title II Part A say we need better accountability and tracking of professional development efforts, which ironically is what ESSA is supposed to provide.

    How It Impacts You

    Sometimes these big bills and laws seem so disconnected from the everyday issues of the classroom, but this is one case where you can see the connection. I promise you that you are likely to have benefited from Title II spending, even if you didn’t realize it. Just a few things these funds can be used for include:

    • Professional learning for all educators (including librarians, counselors, arts teachers, and paraprofessionals!)
    • Job-embedded activities
    • Teacher recruitment, training, and retention
    • Partnerships with higher education and high-needs districts
    • Grants to recruit, select, prepare, and provide professional development
    • Grants to enhance education preparation programs
    • Teacher mentoring and coaching
    • Enhancing principals through ongoing professional learning

    How to Learn More
    First, find out how much your state receives in Title II funds with this graphic from the Center for American Progress. You can also jump on Twitter to see what the latest chatter is on Title II. Check out the hashtags #TitleII #TitleIIA and #PD2Learn to get started.

    Many education organizations are equipping educators with need-to-know information about Title II funding. Whether you agree or disagree with the need for the funding, hearing from education professionals about the impact of Title II can help you understand the current news and debates. ASCD, a professional education organization with over 115,000 members in 128 countries, has a Title II Resources page offering fact and questions, social media graphics, and talking points about Title II. Learning Forward, a professional education organization focused on professional learning, has a Title II Advocacy page with a series of webinars, media, and Title II talking points. If Effective Teacher Professional Development is something you want to explore more, be sure to see the Learning Policy Institute’s report and webinar series.


    There’s no one way to tackle education spending, or a lack thereof, but being aware and informed is the first step. Check out my post “Be an Education Advocate: Learn, Connect, and Speak Up,” for ideas on how to make your voice heard, no matter if it’s Title II, arts education, or any other education passion that you care about. 

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