Title II has been guzzling up about $3 billion annually in federal money for some time now without producing much mileage. The class size reductions and professional development programs that consume the bulk of the funds simply feed the addiction to existing approaches to teacher quality. They are inefficient at generating the human capital reforms likely to make a difference. So when Congress gets real about NCLB reauthorization, what's the future of this gas guzzler going to be?
The formula-based engine that currently drives funding allocations could be tinkered with to narrow allowable uses and shift program accountability toward demonstrating student performance results. Or the formula could be scrapped in favor of competitive grants. Education Sector's Andrew Rotherham proposes to make Title II go hybrid, mixing more stringent, results-based formula allocations with competitive grants for large reform projects. He's right that to be effective, Title II must be more innovative. The political difficulty will be selling those competitive grants.