HELENA (AP) - The School Renewal Commission is recommending the state fully implement the Indian Education For All Act, which calls for all Montana students to learn about the unique cultural heritage of American Indians.
Rep. Carol Juneau, D-Browning, on Monday presented a plan that calls on the state to develop curricula, teacher training programs, policies and standards so all Montana students can learn about American Indian culture.
The act, which is included in the Montana Constitution, will be recommended to the Education and Local Government Interim Committee of the Legislature. From there, the plan would go to the full Legislature.
The state Office of Public Instruction has asked Gov. Judy Martz to appropriate $250,000 in fiscal 2006 and 2007 for the implementation of Indian Education For All. Martz's spokesman said the request, like all other budget requests, is still under consideration.
Rep. Norma Bixby, D-Lame Deer, spoke in support of the plan during a public comment session Monday.
''We know local boards are not doing what they're supposed to do,'' Bixby said. ''We have a court ruling stating we're not doing a good job.''
An April 15 state District Court decision declared the state's funding for public education, as well as its efforts to comply with the Indian Education for All Act, unconstitutionally inadequate.
However, two Republican legislative leaders - Senate President Bob Keenan of Bigfork and House Speaker Doug Mood of Seeley Lake - voiced concerns.
''I don't know what it all means,'' Keenan said, adding that he was given the ''complicated'' plan less than an hour before the vote. ''I just have to be careful what I vote for.''
Juneau, a member of the renewal commission, also attached a statement calling for the state to eliminate the wide disparities in educational achievements between Indian and non-Indian students.
Mood said he supports the plan, but believes Juneau's attached statement belongs somewhere else in the commission's recommendations.