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ACTFL Statement on Trump Administration's FY21 Budget Request

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

Alexandria, VA (February 13, 2020) —On February 10, the Trump Administration released its budget request for FY2021, which eliminates dedicated federal funding for several 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 $2,1b.
  • Elimination of Title IV, Part A of ESSA, which funds student academic achievement grants at the state level, including those for improving access to world language instruction. The current funding level is $1.2b.
  • English Language Acquisition – This program provides grants to states to support English language acquisition.  The current funding level is $787m.
  • 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 $50.1m.
  • 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 $76.1m.

ACTFL strongly opposes these cuts to the federal budget. “Instead of cutting these programs, we should be increasing their funding levels,” said Howie Berman, ACTFL Executive Director. “The need for language skills is growing at a breakneck pace—in our workforce, in our military, in our national intelligence apparatus, and most importantly, in our classrooms. These cuts will leave our students unable to compete in a rapidly changing, 21st century global economy.”

ACTFL President Bridget Yaden added, “The language education profession is already facing incredible challenges with respect to teacher recruitment and retention, as more than 44 states and the District of Columbia currently report shortages of qualified language teachers. These cuts will only make it easier for those considering language teaching to choose another career path.”

ACTFL implores Congress to reject this short-sighted budget request. While we take nothing for granted, we are confident that our work on Capitol Hill, in conjunction with our many partners, will lead to passage of a budget that looks nothing like the President’s version. In the coming weeks and months, Congress will embark on its own process to produce appropriations bills that will fund the government through FY2021. We implore U.S. lawmakers to fully fund these integral federal programs that benefit our nation’s students and teachers, along with our national security and economic viability.

About ACTFL:

ACTFL is the national association for language education professionals from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. With more than 12,000 active members, ACTFL provides innovative professional development opportunities, acclaimed training and certification programs, and widely cited books, publications, scholarly journals, research studies and language education resources, including Foreign Language Annals and The Language Educator magazine. As part of its mission and vision, the organization provides guidance to the profession and to the general public regarding issues, policies, and best practices related to the teaching and learning of languages and cultures. ACTFL is a leading national voice among language educators and administrators and is guided by a responsibility to set standards and expectations that will result in high quality language programs.

 

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Date: 
Thursday, February 13, 2020