The effects of consolidation of federal funding programs on schools participating in Chapter 2 of ECIA in Mississippi: an investigative study

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The focus of the study was to observe changes brought about by the implementation of Chapter 2 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 in local jurisdictions of government when the disposition of federal funds were under local control. The study investigated the extent to which the six expressed intentions of Chapter 2, ECIA legislation were realized in 154 local education agencies in the state of Mississippi two years after implementation. Specifically, the six legislative concerns were to:

  • Reduce the amount of paperwork without reducing the quality of programs,

  • Equalize the distribution of federal funds without reducing the benefits to specific target populations,

  • Increase local discretion without diminishing prior program commitments to the original national priorities,

  • Increase the role of private education without raising the constitutional issue,

  • Reduce reporting and evaluation requirements without a commensurate loss of accountability, and

  • Reduce the constraints on SEAs in the planning of federally funded projects and programs without a loss of perceived quality in those programs.

Data sources collected for analysis included: a mail survey, interviews with state and local school personnel, and supportive documents from both the state education agency and local school districts. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics.

From the study it was concluded that, while the goals of Chapter 2, ECIA legislation were admirable, they were replete with unintended consequences. Further, while many of the legislative objectives were met at the national level several of the objectives had differing effects in a state like Mississippi which exerted little SEA influence.