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The President's FY25 Budget Proposal Prominently Emphasizes the Value of Multilingual Learners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


WASHINGTON, D.C, March 13, 2024 -- On March 11th, President Biden released his Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Proposal. Constrained by a spending agreement that allows only a 1% overall increase in spending for FY25, this is a relatively modest budget. Moreover, with action not yet completed on fully half of all FY24 appropriations bills, including the Labor HHS Education Appropriations bill, this budget’s baseline is FY23. Thus, some of the funding proposals contained within it may actually look like cuts compared to final FY24 numbers. With those caveats, the President’s FY25 budget seeks only a 3.9% increase over FY23 spending totals, which amounts to an additional $3.1 billion.


In addition to now the standard request for money to support free community college tuition,

the budget proposes two new mandatory spending programs:


  • K-12: A five-year, $8 billion for scaling evidence-based practices for accelerating student learning. This would address chronic absenteeism and encourage tutoring, and extended learning.

  • Higher Education: $12 billion for a mandatory program focused on reducing the cost of college, largely through expanding dual enrollment programs.


The proposal of these programs is encouraging, as it indicates an intent to improve educational opportunities that would benefit all learners, including multilingual learners. 


For existing, regular education programs, this budget makes very reasonable programmatic spending requests. The largest K-12 education programs would see only limited spending increases: an additional $200 million each for Title I and IDEA, $50 million for Title III, and $40 million for Perkins Career and Technical Education. Many other key K-12 programs received level funding, including Impact Aid, Title II and Title IV. Charter schools would see a $40 million cut.


The news for language education is largely positive. For the second time in history, The Budget Book prominently emphasizes the value of multilingual learners. One section, entitled “Supports Multilingual Learners” reads: “English learners are one of the fastest-growing student populations in our nation’s public elementary and secondary schools; yet, far too often, the opportunities for English learners in school are limited. To be sure, the over 5 million English learners in our nation’s classrooms must be seen as assets—young people who come to school with wonderful languages and cultures to be shared and valued—and multilingualism should be viewed as the superpower that it truly is.”


Additionally, the Budget provides Title III with a $50 million increase under the President’s budget. The Department’s Budget Book justifies the increase by saying: “The proposed increase would significantly strengthen State and local capacity to meet the needs of ELs and their teachers, provide $80 million for professional development on multilingual education for existing teachers and staff, and bolster the multilingual educator pipeline via post-secondary education fellowships. The Budget also includes a greater emphasis on multilingualism that embraces students’ native and home languages as a strength they bring to their school communities.”


The budget also invests $75 million going towards building out high-quality, comprehensive, and affordable multilingual educator pipelines and professional development in multilingualism for existing school staff and teachers, and $5 million for post-secondary fellowships to improve the quality of multilingual educator preparation.


Finally, the Budget “proposes a name change to the Office of English Language Acquisition to the Office of Multilingual and English Learners, promoting the Office’s Director to Assistant Secretary, and adding staff capacity, to elevate the federal obligation to ELs and strengthen Title III’s program administration.”


Conversely, Title VI of the Higher Education Act would sustain a nearly 5% cut, with overseas programs receiving a nearly 20% reduction. The Budget Book provides no explanation for these cuts, saying only: “The Request would enable the Department to help maintain the national capacity in teaching and learning less commonly taught languages and associated area studies and to continue to work toward increasing the global competency of all U.S. students. All funds requested in fiscal year 2025 for the Domestic Programs would support continuation awards. Funds requested in fiscal year 2025 for the Overseas Programs would support new grants and Fellowships.”


Furthermore, Indian Education, Education for Native Hawaiians and Alaska Native Education programs all would receive flat funding.


Next Steps: Once Congress completes action on FY24 education spending, which it aims to do before the next CR expires on March 22nd, it will turn its attention to holding hearings on this FY25 budget and then marking up its own appropriations bills. JNCL-NCLIS will urge Congress to support President Biden’s vision for fully supporting language education through FY25 appropriations as well as passage of key language education legislation. JNCL-NCLIS will work with our colleagues in higher education to prevent proposed cuts to the international studies programs found in Title VI of the Higher Education Act.


Below is a breakdown of key K-12 program funding levels:



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About JNCL-NCLIS: Established in 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) unites a national network of leading organizations and businesses comprised of over 300,000 language professionals to advocate for equitable language learning opportunities. Our mission is to ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.



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