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House GOP ESEA Bill Would Give Districts Leeway on Spending for English Learners

Our Capitol Hill reporter Alyson Klein is gathering all the details on what is now the third major version of a proposal to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education—this time from the House Republicans.

The House GOP measure could have major implications for English-language learners, because it proposes to give school districts far more leeway in deciding how to spend federal dollars that have been targeted for ELLs, as well as other groups of disadvantaged children, such as American Indian children and migrant children.

As I understand it, the proposal would merge funding for ELLs that is currently under Title III of the ESEA with Title I—the largest federal bucket of money for K-12, which targets all disadvantaged children. School districts, depending on their needs, would have the flexibility to decide to use those funds for activities authorized under Title I or any of the other programs that target special populations of students, such as ELLs.

So, conceivably, a district that receives Title III money for ELLs would be able to decide at a local level whether to spend that money on hiring an ESL teacher or an instructional coach in mathematics who may or may not work with ELLs.

Stay tuned to edweek.org to read about reaction to this proposal, which at this point, only has support among House GOP members.

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