NY Times: Lawmakers Say Needs of Rural Schools Are Overlooked

Published: March 17, 2010

Federal education rules favor big-city school districts over rural systems, some lawmakers complain.
"Lawmakers who represent rural areas told Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a hearing Wednesday that the No Child Left Behind law, as well as the Obama administration’s blueprint for overhauling it, failed to take sufficiently into account the problems of rural schools, and their nine million students....'There are lots of bright people at the Department of Education, and they work very hard,' said John Hill, executive director of the National Rural Education Association, based at Purdue University. 'But because most have not grown up or worked in a rural area, they find it difficult to see how things work in remote districts.'....The administration hopes to shift the focus from credentials to evaluations of teacher effectiveness, based in part on whether their students are learning. Teachers’ colleges could offer special programs to prepare educators for rural challenges.  Mr. Duncan developed some of his ideas last year during a rural tour that took him to the Alaskan village of Hooper Bay on the Bering Sea, a primitive settlement with no flush toilets...."

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