FY 2001 Budget Summary - February 2000

Section B. Bilingual and Immigrant Education

(BA in millions)

Instructional Services$160.0$162.5$180.0
Support Services
Professional Development 50.071.5100.0
Foreign Language Assistance6.08.014.0
Immigrant Education150.0

The 2001 request includes $460 million for bilingual, foreign language, and immigrant education programs, an increase of $54 million or 13.3 percent over 2000. 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 2001 request assumes enactment of the Educational Excellence for All Children Act, the Administration?s proposal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which includes the bilingual and immigrant programs.

The number of LEP children attending American schools has grown dramatically—primarily because of immigration—with State educational agencies reporting that LEP enrollment 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 2001 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 grantee evaluation reports showed that for 91 percent of projects, at least 75 percent of participating LEP students achieved gains in oral English proficiency.

The budget request for bilingual and immigrant programs is part of the Administration?s overall strategy—the Hispanic Education Action Plan—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 40 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.

The Administration?s ESEA reauthorization proposal would consolidate certain bilingual education grants and increase the ability of the Department to hold grantees accountable for the effectiveness of these services in teaching English to LEP students and assisting them in meeting challenging State academic standards. The legislative proposal would also shift the Foreign Language Assistance program to Title X of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and increase its emphasis on improving and expanding foreign language instruction at the elementary school level.

[TOP] Under the proposed legislation, the Instructional Services authority would include three funding categories reflecting the different needs of applicant school districts: (1) Program Development and Enhancement Grants to assist districts in implementing new programs for LEP students; (2) Comprehensive School Grants to support bilingual programs serving all LEP students in a school; and (3) Systemwide Improvement Grants to support reforms benefiting the entire LEP population of a school district. Prior to making fourth- and fifth-year continuation awards for Comprehensive and Systemwide projects, the Department would determine if a program is making continuous and substantial progress in assisting children to learn English and achieve to challenging State content and performance standards. If the Department determined that these grantees were not making such progress, it would require the grantee to develop and submit a program improvement plan. If the Department determined that these grantees were not making substantial progress after the next year, it would deny the grantee its fifth-year continuation award. The $180 million request for Instructional Services would support an estimated 803 grants serving almost 1.3 million students.

[TOP] The budget also includes $16 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 proposed Academic Excellence State recognition program. During fiscal year 2001, 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 $100 million, an increase of $28.5 million or 40 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] The Administration?s reauthorization proposal for the Foreign Language Assistance Program would authorize three-year grants to State educational agencies to promote systemic improvement of foreign language instruction and to local educational agencies (LEAs) for model programs of instruction that exhibit the capability of continuing beyond the grant period. The 2001 request includes $14 million, a $6 million increase over 2000, for an estimated 114 discretionary grants to improve foreign language instruction, particularly at the elementary level. At the request level, the program could greatly expedite the rate at which States establish foreign language standards for elementary schools, significantly increase the pool of teachers prepared to provide elementary level foreign language instruction, and greatly expand the number of elementary schools that offer high-quality foreign language programs.

[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. Under the Administration?s reauthorization proposal, States could 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 more than 808,400 recent immigrant students.

Direct any questions to Martha Jacobs, Budget Service


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