Monday, May 06, 2013

Senators push for re-write of education funding to help rural schools compete with urban ones

Democratic senators from rural areas hope to re-write President Obama's "Race to the Top" program to give rural schools a better chance of competing for federal money. But they are facing stiff opposition from urban senators who are against changing the law, Alexander Bolton reports for The Hill.

It doesn't help the rural cause any that the two main advocates of changing the law, Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), didn't earn many Democratic friends when they voted against the recent measure to expand gun-sale background checks.

Rural advocates argue that Title I funds — a pool of money created in 1965 to help low-income students — flows disproportionately to urban and affluent suburban areas, reports Bolton, quoting Begich: “We want to make sure we don’t miss the unique challenges that rural America has: Getting qualified teachers, getting living space for them and getting them classroom capacity.”

Robert Mahaffey, communications director at the Rural School and Community Trust, told Bolton, “If you come from a high-poverty, low-population place, the per-pupil spending is less." (Read more)

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