The United States Department of Education (USDOE) has announced a new school funding pilot program and an interactive resource for data on English Learners (ELs).
The pilot program is for student-centered funding systems. Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) section 1501 authorizes USDOE to enter into flexibility demonstration agreements with local educational agencies (LEAs) under which LEAs can consolidate eligible federal education funds with state and local funds in order to develop a student-centered system. The agreement would allow districts to combine funds into single streams that are tied to individual students. Allocations are weighted, with higher per-pupil allocations for low-income, ELs, students in special education and other students whose education is more expensive.
According to USDOE, the Secretary is authorized to waive those provisions of ESEA that would otherwise prevent an LEA that enters into an agreement from using eligible Federal funds. ESSA provides for up to 50 school districts to receive flexibility during the first three years of the program.
Applications to participate in the program opened this week and are due on March 12, 2018, for the 2018-19 school year. For the 2019-20 school year, applications are due by July 15, 2018.
The interactive data resource, called “Our Nation’s English Learners,” includes interactive maps, graph and charts with information about ELs in the United States. It aims to answer three main questions:
- Who are ELs?
- Where are ELs located?
- What languages do ELs speak?
The purpose of the interactive resource is to dispel misconceptions about ELs and help educators better understand the needs of this group of students. The site was developed as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Office of English Language Acquisition and the Department's Policy and Program Studies Service. The resource includes:
- A state-by-state chart of the most common non-English languages spoken by ELs, highlighting the more than 400 different languages spoken across the country.
- A district-level map that shows current EL populations, as well as changes in the EL populations over time.
- Graphics highlighting how likely ELs are to attend schools and districts with high concentrations of other ELs