The TwoCents.News Chronicles:

Changes In Funding Priorities At
U. S. Department Of Education

April 1, 2019



President Donald J. Trump announced last week that he had been vindicated by the Mueller Report.  “There was no collusion” between Mr. Trump as candidate for President, his Presidential campaign, and officials with his Presidential campaign with the Russian Federation, according to Mr. William Barr, Attorney General of the United States.

Not stated in the four-page summary from Mr. Barr, though, is whether there has been any collusion in recent months between Mr. Trump as President and Russia. 

While attention was focused on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as she publicly endorsed de-funding Special Olympics, few noticed other aspects of the proposed Education budget.  [Editor’s Note:  President Trump has reversed that decision and has publicly called for continued Federal funding of Special Olympics.]

Page 54 of the 2018-2019 budget for the U. S. Department of Education, for example, included a line item for Spanish language educational classes in secondary schools.  The budget for 2019-2020, though, does not include a line item for those classes.  The same appears to be the case for Spanish language educational classes in colleges and universities (listed as a line item on page 112 of the 2018-2019 budget, but not listed in the 2019-2020 budget).

“English As A Second Language” classes are to renamed as “American Language Skills”, according to the proposed budget for the U. S. Department of Education.  The 2019-2020 budget includes language translation and training skills for 93 languages or dialects of languages.  Sixteen languages and dialects of languages that had previously been included (page 78 of the 2018-2019 budget) are no longer part of this educational program.

Among the languages no longer included are both Spanish and Farsi.  Language dialects no longer included are ones spoken in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, among others.

While not highlighted, it appears that Secretary DeVos is placing a high priority on Russian language classes.

Russia Flags.jpg

In comparing the budget for 2018-2019 with the proposed budget for 2019-2020, funds set aside for Russian language classes are set to increase from $1.2 million to $70.6 million.  In the last year of the administration of President Barrack Obama, only $114,500.00 in funds were budgeted for Russian language classes.

“We believe that children today should learn language skills that will assist them in the job market of tomorrow,” stated Mr. Tim Johnnson, spokesperson for Secretary DeVos.  “It is clear that Russian language skills will be in high demand.  The Labor Department has issued an internal report indicating that the demand is anticipated to spike initially in November of 2020, with a secondary spike in demand anticipated in late January of 2021.”

He indicated that the Russian language classes will no longer focus solely on secondary schools, but will be made available to all schools – from PreK classes through the 12th grade.

Mr. Johnnson declined to provide a copy of this report.

He also declined to discuss the specific reasons for removing Spanish language and Spanish dialect classes from funding through the United States Department of Education.

“We are not stopping local school boards from funding their own foreign language programs,” Mr. Johnnson continued.  “If local officials choose to fund certain language classes, that is a local decision.  We are longer going to subsidize such efforts.”

Further information on this change in funding priorities at the United States Department of Education is available by clicking here.

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© 2019 Richard McDonough