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ACTFL Statement on Trump Administration's FY20 Budget Request

CONTACT: Howie Berman, MA, CAE
(703) 894-2900 x106

Washington, DC—On March 11, the Trump Administration released its budget request for FY2020, which contains several proposed cuts to major programs vital to the language education community, including but not limited to:

  • Elimination of Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which helps fund teacher development grants at the state level that are then distributed to local agencies. The current funding level is $2.09b.
  • Elimination of Title IV, Part A of ESSA, which funds student academic achievement grants at the state level. The current funding level is $1.17b.
  • Elimination of Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which funds the Teacher Quality Partnership grant program for colleges of education. The current funding level is $43.1m.
  • Elimination of Title VI/Fulbright-Hays, which funds grant and fellowship programs that strengthen language instruction, area/international studies teaching and research, professional development, and curriculum development at the K-12, postsecondary, and graduate levels. The current funding level is $72.2m.

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) strongly opposes these cuts to the federal budget. “Now more than ever, robust support for language education in the U.S. is critical,” said Howie Berman, ACTFL Executive Director. “These cuts would do irreparable harm to our national security and our ability as a country to prepare today’s students for a 21st century global economy.”

ACTFL President Lisa Ritter added, “Given that we already see a language teacher shortage in 44 states and the District of Columbia, the inclusion of these cuts in the President’s budget sends the wrong message to language educators across our nation. It will make recruiting new language teachers into the profession more difficult and put additional pressure on current teachers which could lead them to pursue alternate career paths.”

ACTFL urges Congress to reject this budget request. The President’s budget request is just that – a request with no force of law. The Constitution vests the power to appropriate funds in Congress, and Congress has rejected many of these same proposed cuts in the previous two fiscal years.  In the coming weeks and months, Congress will embark on its own process to produce appropriations bills that will fund the government through FY2020. We implore U.S. lawmakers to fully fund these integral federal programs that benefit our nation’s students, teachers, businesses and communities.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019