Concerns about Federal Funding for Languages and International Education

On February 1, 2010, the President’s Education Budget FY 2011 request was released and the  staff of Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) attended the briefing at the Department of Education held by Secretary Arne Duncan. This year’s budget request was particularly concerning for many in the audience due to the initiative to increase accountability and transparency of education programs by eliminating many programs and consolidating many others into six funding streams. Reforms similar in nature to Race to the Top (which would receive an additional $1.35 billion) and 13 grants would continue and expand.

The consolidation effort was vast, affecting programs and dedicated funding streams throughout the entire Department. Included in the consolidation would be the Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) and many other programs that provide federal funding for languages and international education for U.S. students, which would be grouped into one of the six main funding streams. Many programs of importance to JNCL-NCLIS, FLAP among them, would be consolidated into the category for “well-rounded education” along with history, economics, the arts, and other subject areas. Overall, the Administration’s request would allocate more money to federal education programs, but the nature of the consolidations would make it so that smaller programs and subject areas are in direct competition for federal grants in larger competitions, rather than holding several smaller competitions which have their own dedicated funding as is the current situation.

JNCL-NCLIS is preparing a letter to express concerns regarding the President’s Request to send to Secretary Duncan and urges you to consult the Press Release, the President’s Budget and Justifications, and then draft your letter to Secretary Duncan. Please also be prepared to write similar letters to members of the Appropriations Committee and Members of Congress regarding the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Jiri Stejskal
CETRA Language Solutions