February 16, 2022

Improving Education Finance Equity for English Learners in the Southeast

By Indira Dammu | Bonnie O'Keefe

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Click HERE to download the report, or read it in the viewer below.*

Click HERE to access the interactive data tool for this report. 

Nationwide, English learners (ELs) are a fast-growing and diverse student population in the K-12 public school system. Today, the Southeast region of the U.S. is home to more than 710,000 EL students, who speak about 400 different languages and account for 15% of EL students in the country. This number is quickly increasing as certain states in the region see unprecedented growth in EL enrollment. Despite the trends, state education finance systems in the Southeast have not adapted to support the unique learning needs of EL students.

Bellwether Education Partners’ report, Improving Education Finance Equity for English Learners in the Southeast, examines state funding policy structures and data in nine Southeastern states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee — and shares a set of policy recommendations based on promising, equitable funding practices. The report includes a supplemental interactive data tool, accessible here.

As the report shows, state school funding systems in the Southeast have a lot of room for improvement in EL policy, but the region also has an important opportunity to be a leader nationally and demonstrate what transformational and equitable funding systems for EL students can look like.

This report is part of Bellwether’s ongoing examination of how finance and inequity in education shortchange millions of students and families. Learn more here.


*Correction: Due to a drafting oversight, an earlier version of the report had an error in the legends of Figures 1 and 2. The oversights did not affect any key findings or conclusions. We revised this version of the report.

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