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TESOL Statement on the Proposed U.S. Federal FY 2018 Budget

by David Cutler | 05/25/2017
TESOL International Association is deeply troubled by the U.S. president’s proposed FY 2018 federal budget. It recommends deep cuts to critical education programs impacting students and teachers across the United States and around the world. Education serves as the cornerstone of a well-informed and civically engaged society, so it is alarming that the administration is proposing more than $9 billion in cuts to the U.S. Department of Education and $305 million in cuts to educational and cultural exchange programs within the U.S. Department of State

Although TESOL appreciates that the proposed budget maintains funding for the Office of English Language Acquisition at current levels, the president’s request to completely eliminate numerous programs within the Department of Education is unsettling. Programs such as Title II state grants, Teacher Quality Partnership grants, international education for language studies programs, and comprehensive literacy grants help our teachers become better educators and ensure that our students (including 4.6 million English learners) will be prepared to enter a growing global economy. 

The president has proposed other cuts that TESOL finds troublesome:
  • The significant funding cuts for adult, career, and technical education, including state grants funded under Titles I and II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which help to prepare thousands of adult English language learners to enter the workforce or obtain a higher education degree. Any reduction in funding would be harmful to the thousands of individuals and families who receive job training and English language education services from these WIOA funded programs.
  • Reduced funding for educational and cultural exchange programs at the Department of State. These programs serve a vital role in public diplomacy and help support English language teaching and learning in many countries. Given the increased importance of intercultural understanding and diplomacy in today’s world, these suggested cuts are steps in precisely the wrong direction.
  • The elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which helps ease the financial burden of student loans for thousands of teachers, many of whom work in the country’s most underserved rural and urban schools. This cut would not only place a tremendous financial strain on teachers but would also discourage future teachers from entering the field, further increasing the need for qualified and motivated educators.
  • The proposed elimination of a number of staff positions at the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. This office plays a vital role in ensuring that all students in the United States—including English learners—have access to the educational opportunities to which they are entitled under federal law. With the office now facing a greater case load than ever before, more resources are needed to support these efforts, not fewer.
TESOL calls on members of the U.S. Congress from both parties to reject this proposal and enact a more realistic budget that demonstrates an unwavering commitment to education and provides all students, including the nation’s growing population of English learners, with the support that they need to succeed.