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Are Kids with Disabilities Barred from
Title I Reading Programs

"I work as a speech therapist for a public school system. We have been told that students may not have Title I reading resource and special ed goals in reading because this is "double-dipping" into federal monies. Is this true?"

From Pam Wright: No. No law prohibits children from receiving services because of "double-dipping." I'll bet this idea was dreamed up by a bureaucrat (a close relation to Ebenezer Scrooge) who wants to reduce children's access to educational services (and expenditures).

Here is the definition of "double dipping" in the American Heritage Dictionary:

double dipping - The practice of drawing two incomes from the government, usually by holding a government job and receiving a pension, as for prior military service. Income: the financial gain (earned or unearned) accruing over a given period of time.

Title I and IDEA are revenue streams for public schools. These funds do not follow individual children.

Title I provides federal funds to improve the education of disadvantaged children. IDEA provides federal funds to help schools and school districts educate children with disabilities. Some disadvantaged children who attend Title I schools have disabilities and receive special education services under IDEA.


If you want to challenge the "double dipping" claim, ask to see the federal or state law or regulation that prevents children from receiving services under these laws.

If you are told that this is a "policy," ask to see the written policy. I seriously doubt that a written policy about preventing "double dipping" exists.

From Sue Whitney: I agree with Pam.

Ask your administrator to show you where the law says a school can restrict participation in Title I programs of children with IEPs. You may also want to ask the administrator to show you where the law says that a child who receives Title I services may not have an IEP.

Written Plans Are Public Records

What the law does say is that the school must have a written special education plan. The law also says that a school receiving Title I money must have a Title I plan that is compatible with their special education plan.

These plans are public records.

Contact your school district superintendent or school principal and ask for copies of these plans. The plans will tell you what your school district and school promised to provide students with their Title I and IDEA funds.

This still does not ensure that your school's Title I program is research based or that it provides the type or intensity of instruction that is required to benefit a child with a disability.

Find out the name of the reading program used in the Title I program.
The real reason why the school may not want to allow students with IEPs in the Title I program is that the program is not a high-quality research based program. Learn more about research based reading programs.

* * * Every Student Succeeds Act * * *

Signed December 10, 2015 / 391 pdf pages, click here to download.

Note: Congress has reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the statute formerly known as No Child Left Behind. The new statute, Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015.

Wrightslaw is in the process of creating the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) page that will include articles, publications, and other resources about the new statute.

Archived Information

No Child Left Behind: What Educators, Principals & Administrators Need to Know
. Sue Whitney, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, describes requirements about educating teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, and annual testing of math and reading skills. What Educators Need to Know is also available as a printer-friendly version for distribution.

A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind. Sue Whitney describes new requirements for teachers and paraprofessionals, school and school district report cards, annual testing in math and reading. Learn about new options for parents, including transfers from failing schools and free supplemental services - tutoring, after-school programs and summer school. Printer-friendly version of A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind to distribute.

4 Great Things About Reading in NCLB. Regardless of their "category" or label, most kids with special educational needs have deficits in reading. No Child Left Behind includes four legal definitions that Pete is using in his cases: reading; essential components of reading instruction; scientifically based reading research, and diagnostic reading assessments.

No Child Left Behind - Wrightslaw was the companion website to Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind.


Sue Whitney is the Research Editor for Wrightslaw and the co-author, with Pam and Pete Wright, of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind. She writes about creative advocacy strategies in Doing Your Homework which appears in The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter and on

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