Author: C. Botelho
In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, Ian Wilhelm describes the 2013 White House budget proposal as a “mixed bag” for international educators. Of particular concern is the status of the Department of Education Title VI program, which funds 150 academic centers in the U.S., including CERCLL and 14 other Language Resource Centers (LRCs).
President Obama would improve Title VI funding by 2.5% ($1.7 million) in the 2013 fiscal year. As Wilhelm notes, this “small increase [is] primarily to help disadvantaged students develop ‘global competencies.’ However, the administration did not seek to restore the large cut that Title VI received in 2011, when it was reduced by some 40 percent.”
Is this reduced funding level inevitable in the current fiscal climate? Becky Timmons, assistant vice president for government relations for the American Council on Education, argues that “level funding is a statement of support” when purse strings are tight in Washington. Timmons emphasizes the role that LRCs—which focus on less commonly taught languages including Arabic, Chinese, etc.—can play in national security. While this is certainly a strength of these organizations, we should be careful not to undervalue other LRC missions. LRCs train teachers and offer continuing professional development; they conduct research into new and innovative teaching methods and technologies; they provide free resources to classroom teachers online and in person at the local, state and national level.