The U.S. Department of Education has sent a letter to chief state school officers reiterating that states and school districts may not replace local, state, or other federal funding with federal dollars targeted for English-language learners.
Attached to the Oct. 2 letter was a new guidance document that spells out how Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act, which authorizes funding for ELLs, should be interpreted. The letter says federal officials have encountered “state and local practices” that point to a need for clarification. The guidance quotes a provision of the law that says Title III aid should “supplement,” not “supplant,” money already available for programs for children with limited English proficiency.
Some states, the guidance says, have interpreted the “supplement not supplant” provision as not applying to state money used for statewide activities such as professional development or planning and evaluation. In fact, it says, the provision does apply to those state funds. The federal funds also cannot be used to pay for the development of English-language-proficiency tests or for administering such tests, it says.
A version of this article appeared in the October 15, 2008 edition of Education Week