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THE EFFECT OF TITLE III OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE EDUCATION ACT AS REPORTED BY ADMINISTRATORS OF CALIFORNIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS
DONALD W. JOHNSON, Consultant, Bureau of National
Defense Education Act Administration
During the fiscal years 1959 through 1961, the California State Department of Education approved 2,680 projects for the improvement of instructional programs in science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages under Title III of the National Defense Education Act. Approvals were received by 887 school districts and 51 offices of county superintendents of schools for projects requiring expenditures of $8,080,831 in matching federal funds. In addition, 137 requests for consultant services were approved under Section 303 (a) (5).
Alpine County, in which the schools have an average daily attendance of 71, is the only county in which there is no school participating in a program authorized under Title III of the National Defense Education Act. Data for 1959-60 show that the 887 participating school districts had a total average daily attendance of 2,725,322, or 81.1 percent of the total a.d.a. of the state; and that the 51 offices of county superintendents of schools whose projects were approved represented schools with an average daily attendance of 2,974,981, or 88.5 percent of the total a.d.a. for the state.
A summary of the approved projects and fund allotments is shown in Table 1 (page 218), by subject area and level.
More than half (56.9 percent) of the approved projects were in science; 24.3 percent in foreign languages; and only 14 percent in mathematics. The balance, or 4.8 percent of the projects, included more than one subject area.
School districts operating elementary schools submitted 48.3 percent of the projects approved, and received 37.9 percent of the total funds; districts operating high schools, with 41.7 percent of the approved proj ects, received 47.2 percent of the funds; and districts operating junior colleges, with 10 percent of the approved projects, received 14.9 percent of the funds. Project approvals for the 1961-62 fiscal year show that participation in the program by California school districts operating elementary schools was slightly increased. There were no other significant changes.
The proportion of project participation by school districts for elementary school purposes is greater in California than in the rest of the
TITLE III NATIONAL DEFENSE EDUCADUNT OF FEDERAL FUNDS VALS FOR CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS ACCORDING TO EDUCATIONAL LEVEL, SUBJECT, AND ENCUMBERED, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1960-61 FISCAL YEARS
United States, and the districts are receiving a larger proportion of the available funds for these purposes. According to the latest report received from the Office of Education, U.S. Department of Health, Welfare, and Education, 16.6 percent of the available funds have been received by elementary schools in the nation as a whole.
Although large amounts of money have been distributed under Title III to school districts in California, the cost of the program to both the federal government and the state has been only 89.7 cents per unit of average daily attendance per year. This figure includes all allocations to school districts for approved projects, all administrative costs as well as those for consultant services, and the many related activities carried on by various bureaus of the California State Department of Education, but it does not include matching funds provided by school districts for the purchase of equipment and materials.
The Bureau of National Defense Education Act Administration recently completed a statewide evaluation of its activities to (1) determine how wisely the NDEA funds have been utilized; (2) assist local school districts in evaluations of their instructional programs in science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages; (3) obtain appraisals of the NDEA program and learn how services of the Bureau might be made. more effective; and (4) secure information in answer to questions raised by the California State Legislature.
Procedures for evaluating the activities of the Bureau included the following steps:
1. Cooperative planning with members of the Division of Instruction of the California State Department of Education to determine specific purposes and techniques of the evaluative procedure
2. Involving representatives from the Legislative Budget Committee, the office of the Legislative Analyst, and the State Department of Finance
3. Selecting Wilbur Schramm, Director of the Institute for Communication Research at Stanford University, as an adviser
4. Appointing an advisory committee, consisting of representatives from school districts and offices of county superintendents of schools, to complete a pilot questionnaire
5. Holding training sessions for representatives from offices of county superintendents of schools who in turn provide school districts with proper instructions regarding the purposes and techniques of the evaluative procedure
6. Examining completed questionnaires, grouping answers into appropriate categories, and coding the answers for statistical treatment 7. Tabulating responses to questionnaires
By April 1, 1962, the 1,507 responses that had been received from 877 school districts and 51 offices of county superintendents of schools described the effect of 2,804 projects, 98.8 percent of the projects approved.
FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS
The findings and implications contained in this report are based upon the experiences of school districts with a combined a.d.a. of 2,694,988, or 80.2 percent of the average daily attendance in California public schools during the 1959-60 fiscal year.
Finding. Participation in programs under Title III of the National Defense Education Act increases proportionately with the size of the district and with the level of the district.
Implication. Staff time must be scheduled so that school districts can take full advantage of the incentive programs which involve planned curriculum improvement.
Table 2 shows the distribution of school districts participating in programs under Title III of the National Defense Education Act according to type and size. There was participation by 16.3 percent of the districts in the state whose average daily attendance was less than 100; by 35.4 percent of the districts with an a.d.a. between 100 and 299; by 57 percent of the districts with an a.d.a. between 300 and 999; and by 80.3 to 100 percent of the districts with 1,000 a.d.a. or more.
The size of the administrative staffs tends to increase as school districts grow in size, and there is a tendency to provide administrative services to a greater extent in high school and junior college districts. Only 15.5 percent of the 515 elementary school districts with an a.d.a. of less than 100 participated in programs under Title III of NDEA; but 44.4 percent of the nine high school districts participated. Among all the school districts with less than 1,000 average daily attendance, participation in NDEA projects was shown to be 27.7 percent of the 1,040 elementary districts; 70.4 percent of the 115 high school districts; 87.5 percent of the eight junior college districts; and 76.7 percent of the 30 unified school districts.
Thus, although it would appear that the size of a school district is the determining factor in its participation in the program, such is not the fact. The critical factor is the size of the administrative staff which is given responsibility for the preparation of projects and time in which to do the required work.
The school districts that assigned one person to supervise all project applications obtained the greatest amount of financial assistance, reported the greatest amount of gain in their instructional programs, and had the fewest problems in using National Defense Education Act funds.
NUMBER AND PER CENT OF CALIFORNIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS BY TYPE AND SIZE WITH PROGRAMS APPROVED FOR PARTIAL FINANCING UNDER TITLE III OF NDEA, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1960-61 FISCAL YEARS
Number Number Per cent with with Number with with Number with approved approved in approved approved in projects projects state projects projects state
Number Per cent
with approved approved projects projects