FY 2000 Budget Summary - February 1999

Section B - Bilingual and Immigrant Education

(BA in millions)





Instructional Services




Support Services




Professional Development




Foreign Language Assistance




Immigrant Education








The 2000 request includes $415 million for bilingual, foreign language, and immigrant education programs, an increase of $35 million or 9.2 percent over 1999. These programs assist local school districts in building their capacity to operate high-quality instructional programs for recently arrived immigrants and other limited English proficient (LEP) students, and to improve foreign language instruction.

The number of LEP children attending American schools has grown dramatically?primarily because of immigration?with State educational agencies reporting that the number of LEP students rose from 2.1 million in the 1990-91 academic year to 3.5 million in 1996-97. Much of this growth is in States and school districts that previously enrolled only a handful of these students. As the number of LEP children has grown, the needs of school districts for programs to serve those children?and for trained staff to work in those programs?have grown accordingly. In 2000 the Department will emphasize awards to districts that have experienced a recent influx of LEP students and have little prior experience in serving them.

Federal bilingual education projects have demonstrated effectiveness in teaching English. Recent biennial evaluation reports showed that for 91 percent of projects, at least 75 percent of participating LEP students achieved gains in oral English proficiency. On April 27, 1998, Secretary Riley announced a 3-year goal for preparing LEP students to transfer to all-English classrooms. The Department intends to work with school districts to ensure that the English language skills of LEP students are assessed after they have participated in bilingual and English as a second language program for three years.

The budget request for bilingual and immigrant programs is part of the Administration?s overall strategy of targeting funding increases on education programs that will help Hispanic Americans and other LEP children and adults complete school and make their way into the economic mainstream. In particular, the request increases funding for professional development by 50 percent to address the critical shortage of teachers prepared to serve LEP students. The Administration also proposes additional funding for instructional services, with the increase targeted to schools that have little prior experience in serving LEP students.

[TOP]The Bilingual Education Instructional Services authority includes four funding categories reflecting the different needs of applicant school districts: (1) Program Development and Implementation Grants to assist districts in implementing new programs for LEP students; (2) Program Enhancement Grants to enhance or expand existing programs; (3) Comprehensive School Grants to support bilingual programs serving all LEP students in a school; and (4) Systemwide Improvement Grants to support reforms benefiting the entire LEP population of a school district. Under all four categories, activities supported by Federal grants must be consistent with State education reform plans and integrated with the overall educational program in a school. The $170 million request for Instructional Services will support approximately 760 grants serving almost 1.1 million students.

[TOP] The budget also includes $14 million for the Support Services program, which funds grants to States, research and evaluation activities, the operation of a national clearinghouse on bilingual education, and the Academic Excellence dissemination program. During fiscal year 2000, the Department will devote the research money to collecting program performance data needed to meet the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act.

[TOP] The request provides $75 million, an increase of $25 million or 50 percent, for Professional Development. This program funds activities intended to help meet the critical need for additional, fully certified bilingual education and English-as-a-second-language teachers, and to strengthen the skills of teachers currently providing instruction to LEP children. The request recognizes the importance of professional development for achieving education reform, and the need of many school districts for qualified bilingual teachers.

[TOP] For Foreign Language Assistance, the request includes $6 million, the same as the 1999 amount, to continue an estimated 57 discretionary grants to improve foreign language instruction, particularly at the elementary level. The program is intended to spur States and school districts to create high-quality foreign language programs needed to help the Nation compete effectively in international markets.

[TOP] Finally, in recognition of the additional costs faced by school districts that serve large numbers of recently arrived immigrant students, the Administration is requesting $150 million for Immigrant Education. This program provides grants to States according to a formula based on the number of recent immigrants in their schools; most funds flow to the States that bear the brunt of the educational burdens created by immigration. The Department is proposing continuation of appropriations language that permits States to direct these funds, on a discretionary basis, to the school districts where they are most needed. The request will assist LEAs in meeting the expense of educating some 821,000 recent immigrant students.

Direct any questions to Martha Jacobs, Budget Service

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