Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada issued the following statement in response to federal cuts to Nevada’s English Language Learner Funds by nearly $2 million.
“I was very disappointed to learn about the Department of Education’s reduction to Nevada’s funding allocation for students learning English. We need to make sure that Nevada has the resources it needs for those who want to learn English. The beauty of our country is that anyone from anywhere, regardless of the color of their skin or native language can become successful. One of the most fundamental building blocks for success includes mastery of the English language. Cutting funds works against that very principle.
“Unfortunately, these allocations are determined by a formula established in the No Child Left Behind Act. This formula is based on annual estimates from the U.S. Census, and the methodology for counting English-Language Learners (ELL) has proven to be flawed and inaccurate. As school officials in Nevada can attest, our state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of ELL students, not a decrease.
“I’m doing my part to address this critical issue. Recently, I convened a meeting with the U.S. Department of Education, the Nevada Department of Education, and Nevada school district officials to explain the formula, and discuss potential changes. My office has also met with Nevada school officials to discuss proposals to more accurately count English-Language Learner students. Based on these recommendations, I have developed changes to the formula and I will work to incorporate these changes in the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which Congress will consider in the coming months. I will leverage my position as Majority Leader to ensure Nevadans are afforded these opportunities. This is an important program that helps people transition to English.”