Monday, March 01, 2010

Defenders of program for disadvantaged schools object to feds' push for career-oriented standards

Some education advocacy groups are criticizing the Obama administration's proposal to tie Title I funding for disadvantaged students to states’ adoption of reading and math standards that prepare students for college or a career. States would be required to "either join with their counterparts in developing rigorous, college- and career-ready standards, or work with institutions of higher education to set standards that would ensure high school graduates are ready to enter postsecondary study or the workforce," Alyson Klein of Education Week reports. The proposal is part of the administration's overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The National School Boards Association said in a statement the proposal "amounts to an unnecessary overreach by the federal government to coerce states to adopt a particular approach or be shut out of future funding for key programs." The senior education committee director for the National Conference of State Legislatures told Klein there is no evidence that college- and career-readiness standards will lead to better student outcomes, and the proposal was an example of "federal overreaching." States must already agree to establish accountability systems in order to tap Title I funding under the current law. (Read more)

Title I funding is of particular interest to rural schools, which are hurt by the formula that gives additional weight to poor urban schools, writes The Rural School and Community Trust. The advocacy group has provided an Excel chart of 2009 Title I funding for every school district and their calculation on how the funding equation affected that district's grant. The group also advocates for the simpler funding equation outlined by the Center for American Progress in its recent report. What states have particular interest in rural education funding? RSCT reports North Carolina (677,00), Texas (560,380), Georgia (525,000), Ohio (449,700) and Virginia (376,900) lead the country in rural enrollment.

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