Rural schools need more federal attention

The report helps dispel common myths about rural schools.
The report helps dispel common myths about rural schools.

According to a new report, one out of every four rural students fails to graduate from high school, a problem that owes largely to a lack of attention to the needs of rural schools. From changing Title I formulas to providing cutting-edge technology, it’s time to provide more support to those who need it most, the report says.

Called “Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers: What Federal Policymakers Need to Know,” the report was released by the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), a national policy and advocacy organization with a commitment to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for success. It was funded by the Walmart Foundation.

According to the report, approximately 3.4 million students attend rural high schools, yet one out of four students fails to graduate. Overall, rural school enrollment is on the rise—up 15 percent over the past several years—but more than 20 percent of the nation’s poorest-performing high schools are located in rural areas.…Read More

AASA keynote: Focus on children, or risk nation’s status

We need to rethink our priorities as a nation, Canada said.
We need to rethink our priorities as a nation, Canada said.

Referring to the significant challenges facing public education today as a crisis that threatens the nation’s status as a global leader, educational trailblazer Geoffrey Canada urged school leaders to push for more funding and do “whatever it takes” to make sure all students succeed.

“I am convinced that if our country continues to treat its children the way it has, we will no longer remain a world superpower,” Canada said in a Feb. 12 keynote speech at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in Phoenix. “In fact, we won’t even be in the top 10.”

Canada is president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a project that the New York Times described as “one of the most ambitious social-service experiments of our time.”…Read More

FY11 budget plan folds ed tech into new program

EETT experiences some changes under the proposed FY2011 budget.
Education technology no longer would have a separate line item under Obama's proposed FY2011 budget.

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 calls for sweeping changes to programs within the U.S. Department of Education (ED), including a restructuring of federal education technology grants.

Under Obama’s budget plan, the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program—the largest single source of federal funding for school technology hardware, software, and professional development—would be consolidated along with several other grant programs into a new initiative called Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education.

This new initiative would focus on improving teaching and learning within three areas: Literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and Well-Rounded Education (arts, foreign languages, civics and government, history, geography, economics, financial literacy, and other subjects).…Read More

Obama calls for more school funding

Education was a key part of President Obama's State of the Union address.
Education was a key part of President Obama's State of the Union address.

Education is one of the few areas of the federal budget that would not see a spending freeze, if President Barack Obama gets his way this year.

In his State of the Union speech on Jan. 27, Obama said his administration will work with Congress to expand school improvements across the country, saying the success of children cannot depend on where they live.

As he prepares to ask Congress for billions of dollars in new spending for education, the president said the nation’s students need to be inspired to succeed in math and science, and that failing schools need to be turned around.…Read More

USDA awarding $310 million for broadband projects

The Agriculture Department is handing out another $310 million in stimulus money to bring high-speed internet connections to 14 rural communities around the country, reports the Associated Press. The awards announced Jan. 25 amount to the largest round of government funding for broadband since Congress included $7.2 billion for high-speed networks and adoption programs in last year’s stimulus bill. Including the latest round of funding, the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service has doled out $363.7 million for 22 broadband projects across the country. The Agriculture Department will award a total of $2.5 billion in stimulus money for broadband programs. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an arm of the Commerce Department, is handing out the remaining $4.7 billion in broadband stimulus funding. As of last week, NTIA had awarded roughly $200 million in grants for 15 projects. Applications for the next and final round of broadband funding are due by March 15. Demand for the broadband money has been intense, far outstripping the amount available. The Commerce and Agriculture departments already have received nearly 2,200 applications requesting a total of $28 billion…

Click here for the full story

…Read More