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Obama Budget Seeks More Funding for English-Learner Programs

President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget request would raise spending levels for states and local districts to support instruction for English-language learners.

The proposal asks for $773 million in spending on English-language acquisition programs. That's $36 million more than the president proposed for fiscal year 2015.

As detailed by my colleagues Alyson Klein and Lauren Camera, over at the Politics K-12 blog, the White House is asking for $70.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $3.6 billion over fiscal 2015 levels.

The requested increase for English-language acquisition may signal a new approach for the Obama administration.

As my colleagues report: " ... for the last two years, Obama's budget request proposed level-funding some popular programs that go out to every district by formula in order to push more resources to its signature (grant) competitions. But this year's request includes big increases for those formula-funded programs," including the English Language Acquisition Grants."

Funding for Title III, the provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that sets aside money for English-language acquisition, had seen decreases or level-funding in recent years, even as the number of English-learners in public schools continued to grow.

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