English-Language Acquisition Gets Boost in Federal Spending Bill
The $1.1 trillion federal spending bill released by Congressional leaders Monday night includes a modest increase in funding for states and local districts to support instruction for English-language learners. You can catch up on all the education details by reading Alyson Klein's breakdown at Politics K-12.
The measure calls for $723.4 million in spending for Title III—the provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that sets aside money for English-language acquisition—an increase of more than 4 percent over fiscal 2013, but one that still falls short of returning federal spending on ELLs to pre-sequestration levels.
In fiscal 2012, funding for Title III was $732 million. Fiscal 2010 was the peak year for Title III spending at $750 million.
Title III took about a $38 million hit under sequestration, the 5 percent across the board cut that hit last spring. The aid provided by Title III pays for things like ESL teachers, curricular materials, and bilingual classroom aides.
The chart below—put together by the Committee for Education Funding—gives a clear picture of how Title III spending levels have fluctuated over the last dozen years, even as the numbers of English-learners being served in public schools has been on the uptick.