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Education officials in Indiana seek to increase funding for English language learners by two times



Indianapolis, Indiana – Education officials are fighting for increased funding for pupils who are English language learners.

According to the authorities, these students are having difficulty catching up after falling behind due to the pandemic.

Education officials claim that many of these English-language learners were unable to resume their previous rates of learning before COVID-19 struck.

“We’ve had an influx in English language learners and the needs are great,” the founder and CEO of Global Prep Academy at Riverside 44, Mariama Shaheed, said.

In the upcoming two-year budget, the Department of Education is requesting $100 million to increase resources for English-language learners and their teachers.

Currently, it has $55 million set up for the Non-English Speaking Program.

About 36% of these pupils, according to education secretary Katie Jenner, are not fluent in reading and writing.

“We should look at those schools that are at the rock bottom and figure out how do we infuse more resources for them to catch up and create more of an equitable way,” state senator Eddie Melton said.

The Department of Education estimates that there are 77,563 English language learners in the state.

There were around 59,102 in 2017, an increase of more than 30%.

According to state officials, English language learners in fifth through eighth grades fell behind during COVID-19, especially in English language arts.

“We are in a crisis and every time we talk about education funding we nickel and dime even though it’s half of the state budget to the point that some public officials probably say we need to push the envelope just a little and the first thought that comes to their mind is reducing funding for education,” state senator Fady Qaddoura said.

“When students were at home learning virtually there’s a level of support that’s needed in the home and when families don’t speak English and they’re not able to provide that level of support the gap is that much wider for students whose primary language was not English,” Shaheed said.

Jenner claims to be receptive to suggestions for enacting change.

“We’re a humble crew. If there are things that are missing we’re always willing to attack that based on ideas that come from local communities,” Jenner said.

The Non-English Speaking Program, according to the department of education, should be renamed Indiana English Support Program.

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