The House Appropriations Committee has approved $15 million in funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 to support the third round of the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants Program (WLARA). The House Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) Education Appropriations Subcommittee will act on language education program funding levels tomorrow, with the full Appropriations Committee set to approve those funding levels on June 30th. The full House is expected to pass both the FY23 Defense and Labor HHS Education spending bills in July. The Senate Appropriations process remains stalled.
“We are thrilled that the House’s Appropriations Committee continues to invest in world language education, to ensure our students have access to critical skills necessary to become global leaders,” said Amanda Seewald, President of the Joint National Committee for Languages-National Council on Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS). “By voting to approve another $15 million to fund the World Language Advancement and Readiness Grants in Fiscal Year 2023, this Committee not only recognizes the value of K-12 students developing multilingual and multicultural skills and knowledge, but also honors the late Rep. Don Young and the retiring Rep. David Price who’s bipartisan efforts resulted in the authorization and funding of this program. We urge Congress to approve and the President to enact this third tranche of funding for WLARA as soon as possible.”
WLARA was authorized in FY2020 through the National Defense Authorization Act and provides for three-year competitive grants to support local and state education agencies to establish, improve, or expand innovative programs in world language learning. 75% of the grant funding goes to programs for languages critical to national security and 25% for any natural human language. Last Fall, the Department of Defense awarded the first round of multi-year WLARA grants to nine public school districts, spread across seven states. Languages represented by the awards include American Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. The second round of WLARA grant awards is expected to be made this summer.