2Center or American Progress | Make Rural Schools a Priority
been underunded or no encouraged.
And, overall, rural areas have experiencedshrinking ax bases, shiing local economies, and brain drain among young people whomove o more urban areas aer high school graduaion.
A he same ime, rural schools possess unique srenghs and opporuniies. Tey usually enjoy srong communiy suppor, including opporuniies or sudens oconnec direcly wih uure employers. Oen, rural schools are a he oreron inusing disance echnology o provide educaional services.Unorunaely, ederal educaion eors do no always consider he issues o ruralsudens and schools in ways hey could, despie heir unique challenges. A ew examples sand ou.
ile I o he Elemenary and Secondary Educaion Ac, or ESEA, is he largesederal unding sream designed o suppor educaional services or schools wih con-cenraions o low-income sudens. wo o ile I’s our complex ormulas, however,unairly seer more unds o large disrics, despie some disrics’ comparaively lowerconcenraion o povery.
And some evidence exiss ha rural high schools receiveless unding han high schools in suburban or urban areas due o he ways in which highschools can be unded in ile I allocaions.
Some ederal educaion programs are compeiive grans designedo reward saes and disrics ha bes mee esablished crieria. Compeiive unds canencourage reorm and reward granees who make valuable changes. Bu some compei-ive grans may make i more dicul or rural disrics o compee. For example, hers round o he Invesing in Innovaion Fund compeiion asked applicans o dem-onsrae how much heir innovaive pracices would cos o scale up o serve 100,000 o500,000 o 1 million sudens.
Rural disrics—and even whole saes—do no havehis many sudens, capaciy o serve hem i hey did, or abiliy o esimae such a cosin heir rural conex. For example, Monana only has 140,000 sudens saewide. Plus,or any compeiion, many rural disrics call on he principal or superinenden o wriea gran applicaion while large disrics may have he resources o employ ull-ime gran wriers. Tereore, i may make sense o ake his ino accoun when reviewing granapplicaions rom rural disrics.
Congress has he opporuniy o move orward on educaion reorm by reauhorizingESEA o ensure all children achieve heir greaes poenial. ESEA is he larges andmos signican ederal educaion law supporing public schools. Te law, currenly known as No Child Le Behind, was due o be reauhorized in 2007. Congress now has he opporuniy o x numerous faws in NCLB and o ensure he needs o ruralsudens and schools are me.