Federal funding of English language acquisition state grants is not keeping up with the pace of inflation, a new report has concluded.
The grants offer states and school districts help with developing curriculum and expanding teacher training for English language learners, among other things.
The “Children’s Budget 2012” report from the First Focus advocacy organization expresses concerns that President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget freezes funding for such programs at about $732 million. Although that funding level is the same as the previous year, the report concludes that it represents a roughly 2.2 percent funding decrease over the previous year when inflation is considered. Between 2008 and 2012, the highest funding level was in 2010, at about $750 million.
“Given that achievement gaps still persist between ELL and non-ELL students, leveling the funding fails to adequately meet the need of the rapidly growing ELL population,” the report says. “Therefore, as the President’s request misses an opportunity to move the nation closer to meeting the needs of these students and the schools serving them, a more significant investment remains essential.”
The study looks at federal investment in numerous programs that affect children, including education, housing, health, safety and child welfare. The president’s 2013 fiscal year budget would increase federal spending on programs affecting children by about one percent from the current level.
The news isn’t all negative: First Focus found that government spending on children increased by about 17.5 percent between 2008 and 2012 in real terms. Part of that increase is due to passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.