A political dispute over the best way to teach California’s English-language learners is keeping funds for the state board of education held up in the legislature.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed a fiscal 2007 state budget last month that didn’t have the $1.6 million needed to keep the eight-member staff of the board operating. Lawmakers pulled the agency’s funding because some Democrats think a curriculum framework for language arts doesn’t do enough for students who are learning English.
Democratic Sen. Martha M. Escutia is sponsoring legislation to restore the funding, but it would also expand curriculum materials and instruction for English-language learners. The state board voted July 13 to oppose her plan, saying that the measure has the potential to assign English-learners to a lower educational track.
Until the matter is settled, the governor’s office is covering the salaries for half the board staff, and the state department of education is covering the rest.
A version of this article appeared in the July 26, 2006 edition of Education Week