This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small piece of code that gives your computer a unique identity, but it does not contain any information that allows us to identify you personally. For more information on how TESOL International Association uses cookies, please read our privacy policy. Most browsers automatically accept cookies, but if you prefer, you can opt out by changing your browser settings.

TESOL Statement: U.S. President’s FY21 Budget Request Undercuts English Language Education

by David Cutler | 02/14/2020
TESOL International Association (TESOL) is extremely disappointed with the proposed $5.6 billion funding cut to the U.S. Department of Education in the U.S. President’s recently released FY21 education budget request. While the power to appropriate federal funding ultimately rests with the U.S. Congress, the president’s proposed elimination and consolidation of major programs that benefit English learners and teachers has the potential to jeopardize the success of already vulnerable and underserved English learners in the United States. 

The request to consolidate 29 funding streams authorized within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into one block grant is alarming, and if enacted, such a radical shift would have an immediate negative impact on English learners. This new block grant not only represents a $4.6 billion cut to current ESSA funding streams, but by combining essential programs that serve English learners, such as Title III, into one large pool of money for 29 ESSA programs, this block grant creates the potential for states to allocate funding away from English learners and towards other student populations or programs, with little accountability or oversight. With such a drastic change in funding and accountability, the possibility exists for English learners to become further underserved and overlooked. 

TESOL recognizes that the administration has proposed a dramatic increase to career and technical education programs. However, while the investment to these programs may be sorely needed, it does not make up for the deep cuts that were proposed to K-12 education, and fails to increase funding for Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, leaving critical programs at the current FY20 funding level. TESOL is firmly committed to ensuring that all adult English learners have access to quality education and career training programs and is very disappointed that these programs will not receive adequate funding to keep pace with increased costs and demands. 

“For the last three years, the administration has proposed cutting programs that impact English learners and teachers. I’m thankful that our thousands of TESOL advocates have fought hard every year to make their voices heard in Congress, successfully advocating for more funding for English learners and teachers. I encourage all of our advocates to continue their tireless efforts by contacting their members of Congress and requesting adequate funding for their students and fellow teachers,” commented TESOL Executive Director Christopher Powers. “I also urge our congressional leaders to once again reject the administration’s harmful education budget proposals and continue to support English learners and teachers in a bipartisan effort,” concluded Powers.