B. BILINGUAL AND IMMIGRANT EDUCATION
(BA in millions)
|Foreign Language Assistance||5.1||5.0||5.0|
The 1999 request includes $387 million for bilingual, foreign language, and immigrant education programs, an increase of $33 million or 9 percent over 1998. 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.
Primarily because of immigration, the number of LEP children attending American schools has grown dramatically in the last twenty years. According to the Census Bureau, the population of school-aged LEP children grew by more than half a million during the 1980s. More recently, State educational agencies have reported to the Department that the number of LEP students rose from 2.1 million in the 1990-91 academic year to 3.1 million in 1994-95. As the number of LEP children has grown, the needs of school districts for programs to serve those children--and trained staff to work in those programs--have grown accordingly. The Federal bilingual and immigrant education programs give school districts broad latitude in designing programs that best fit the needs of the students they serve.
The budget request for bilingual and immigrant programs is part of the 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 Administration proposes to double funding for Professional Development programs in order to meet the critical need in school districts across the country for teachers who are skilled in educating limited English proficient children.
The Bilingual Education Instructional Services authority includes 4 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 $168 million request for Instructional Services will support approximately 670 grants serving almost 1.4 million students.
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 1999, the Department will devote the research money available under this program to collecting the program performance data needed to meet the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act.
As noted above, the request would double funding, to $50 million, for Professional Development, which 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.
For Foreign Language Assistance, the request includes $5 million, the same as the 1998 amount, for an estimated 48 new 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.
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 886,000 recent immigrant students.
[Elementary and Secondary Education] [Special Education and Rehabilitative Services]
Direct any questions to Martha Jacobs, Budget Service