Federal Education Policy


Report: Leveling The Playing Field For Rural Students

Leveling the Playing FieldLimited access to advanced coursework, medical care, food and employment opportunities continue to daunt students in many rural communities, according to a report released today by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and The Rural School and Community Trust.


Read about the U.S. Department of Education's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request

Critical investments in preschool, K-12 and higher education are among the highlights of the Department of Education's 2016 budget request.


Battles Continue Over Teacher Employment Issues

Politically charged fights over teacher tenure, contract negotiations, and testing rage on in states and at the federal level.


Vermont Stands Up, Respects Parents and Teachers

A high-achieving state stands up to the federal law that deems its schools “low performing.”


It's Complicated... Why What's Rural Matters

America’s relationship with its rural areas is complicated. But taking rural characteristics into account can make schools and communities better, not just for rural students and residents but for everyone. In this first installment in the RPM series “Rural Matters: The Implications of Rural Characteristics for Public Policy,” we explore meaning in the many definitions of rural.


Leadership Conference Education Fund releases report, Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child

Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality On April 15, 2013, the Leadership Conference Education Fund released their report, “Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child,” – a call to action to provide each and every child the education she or he deserves.


Federal Commission Highlights Funding as a Major Cause of Inequity Among Schools

A federal commission, of which Rural Trust President Doris Terry Williams is a member, recently issued their initial report, "For Each and Every Child." The report recommends a variety of ways to improve equity in schools and opportunity in communities.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
Conclusions: Putting It All In Context

Read this section for a brief summary and analysis of the context for reducing violence in American schools.


Department of Education's Equity Commission Releases, "For Each and Every Child"

For Each And Every Child” On February 19, 2013, the Co-chairs of the Equity and Excellence commission presented their report to Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. The Commission's report, “For Each and Every Child,” highlights the need to eliminate “education disparities affecting millions of underserved and disadvantaged students.” Rural Trust Executive Director and Capacity Building Director, Dr. Doris Terry Williams was appointed to the Commission in 2011.


School Turnaround Policies Unlikely to Improve Student Performance, According to Report

A new study argues that most current school reforms are unlikely to improve education and may weaken student performance, school climate, and communities. It argues instead for sustained investment in high-poverty schools, support for teachers, and authentic engagement of parents and communities in the development of reforms.


White House Rural Council Announces Rural Online Community

The U.S. Department of Education announced a new initiative of the White House Rural Council: online community of practice group for rural schools.
Date: June 26, 2012
Related Categories: Collaborations, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy


New Race to the Top Stresses Student-Teacher Relationships

Race to the Top guidelines announced late last month prioritize programs that build relationships between students and teachers at the classroom level.


"Impact in Place": A New Federal Policy Direction?

Several federal initiatives have made place a key concept. A report released this month describes some of these initiatives. RPM provides interpretation and a rural perspective.


ACE Amendment Voted Down But Issue Remains Alive

U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee does not advance All Children are Equal Act, but important groundwork was laid to move ahead.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Formula Fairness Campaign, Title I


ACE Act Will Be Considered for Adoption February 28, 2012

The House Education and Workforce Committee will be considering adoption of the ACE Act on February 28...
Date: February 23, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Formula Fairness Campaign, Title I


Consolidation and Charter Policies Make Conflicting Claims

A new wave of legislation advocating the creation of charter schools uses arguments that run counter to those often used to close small schools and districts. Both policies raise complicated questions of equity and opportunity.
Date: February 23, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, Federal Education Policy


Montana Cites Rural Nature in Rationale for Declining NCLB Waivers

Most states have indicated they plan to apply in February for waivers of many No Child Left Behind provisions, but Montana announced this month that it sees the waiver provisions as inappropriate to state conditions.
Date: December 30, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, No Child Left Behind, School Location


All Children Are Equal Act Gains Sponsors, Garners Attention

The bill to end discrimination in the way Title I funding is distributed has gained two more sponsors, continues to attract attention


Many Title I Schools Don't Get Comparable Share of State and Local Funding

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education finds that many school districts spend less state and local funds per-pupil in their Title I and highest-poverty schools than in schools with lower rates of student poverty.
Date: December 30, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Income Related Issues, School Location, Title I


New Guidance for School Districts Seeking to Achieve Diversity, Avoid Racial Isolation

School districts have new federal guidance for voluntary approaches to achieving diversity and avoiding racial isolation in schools.
Date: December 30, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Income Related Issues


Judge Suspends Portions of Alabama Immigration Law Affecting K-12 Education

A federal court has temporarily blocked portions of Alabama’s new immigration law, including requirements that schools report the immigration status of all newly enrolling students and their parents.


Why Some High-Scoring i3 Rural Projects Did Not Receive Funding

A Rural Trust analysis of rural i3 proposals that earned almost enough points to receive funding finds that the paucity of research and evaluation on rural schools may have hurt these applicants.
Date: October 27, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Investing in Innovation, School Location


Investing in Innovation Round Two Rural Priority

Applications for the latest round of Investing in Innovations grants are in, and a new rural “absolute priority” should result in projects more genuinely focused on rural schools.
Date: October 27, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Investing in Innovation, School Location


Bill Would Expand Federal Funding for Charter Schools

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would increase federal funding for charter schools.


Don't Miss It!

Don’t miss commentary by Marty Strange, Rural Trust Policy Director, in Education Week.


All Children are Equal Act Introduced

The All Children are Equal (ACE) Act was introduced July 12 in the U.S. House of Representatives by 11 original co-sponsors led by Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA).


White House Rural Council

President Obama issued an Executive Order earlier this month establishing the White House Rural Council.
Date: June 25, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy


Federal Office of Rural Education Policy Proposed

U.S. Senators Max Baucus of Montana and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia have introduced legislation to create an Office of Rural Education Policy within the U.S. Department of Education.


Many Highest Poverty Districts Would Be Better Off If Congress Had Not Tried to Help Them

Number-weighting in the Title I formulas is so detrimental to most high-poverty districts that many would be better off if the formulas made no attempt to target more money to districts with high rates of poverty. This post from the Formula Fairness Campaign explains why.
Date: May 29, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Income Related Issues, Title I


Rural Trust Executive Director Appointed to Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission

Doris Terry Williams, executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust and director of the Trust's Capacity Building Program, has been appointed to the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.


Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation Program

Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation ProgramThis Rural Trust report analyzes the impact of the rural competitive preference in the first round of i3 grants issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The analysis considers whether the rural claim was well-made by the applicants and well-evaluated by the readers. In short, the federal grant program did little to attract authentically rural innovations to address the challenges of high-needs rural schools.


Formula Fairness Campaign Gains Three New Sponsors

This month, three new organizations became co-sponsors of the Formula Fairness Campaign. Find out how your organization can join the effort.
Date: December 22, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Federal Policy, Formula Fairness Campaign, Title I


Senators Raise Concerns About Rural Districts in i3

Thirteen U.S. Senators have sent a letter to Secretary Duncan expressing concerns and raising questions about the i3 federal grant process and its impact on rural schools.


It Is Time for Something More Meaningful Than No "Excuses"

It’s time to address the real challenges that undermine the educational opportunities of many of our nation’s children

Date: December 21, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Federal Policy, Income Related Issues, Title I


Taking Advantage of the Rural Preference in the Investing in Innovation Grant Competition

The so-called “rural preference” in the federal i3 competition did little to attract authentically rural proposals.


Ohio Funding Formula Remains Controversial After Election

School funding was a hot topic in Ohio’s gubernatorial campaign and it is still hot as the state readies itself for its Race to the Top award…


i3 Awards Don't Reach Many High-Needs Rural Districts

The federal Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive grant program has laudable objectives, but it is doing little to reach high-poverty rural schools.


Rural Trust's Doris Williams Authors National Report on Community Schools

A new report by Rural Trust Executive Director, Doris Williams, addresses the potential of “community schools” to respond to persistent challenges in low-wealth rural schools and communities.


High-Poverty Rural Districts Largely Left Out of Race to the Top

High-poverty rural districts won’t see much of the $4 billion in Race to the Top grants to states.


Title I: Contact Your Representative — And Your Candidates

The mid-term elections are an important time to tell both incumbents and challengers that Title I funding needs to be fixed....


Small Arkansas Town Focus of Secretary Visit

The small town of Hamburg, Arkansas made the news earlier this month when Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Deputy Secretary John White visited Hamburg schools as part of an eight-state tour. The visit highlighted two programs at the diverse 2,100-student district in southeast Arkansas....


Fate of Secure Rural Schools Act Unclear

A source of funding for rural schools located in National Forest counties is caught up in the fight over the federal budget....


West Virginia Governor Calls for Review of State Education Spending

After he failed to get legislation passed to enable West Virginia to compete for federal Race to the Top funds, Governor Joe Manchin has appointed a task force to review state education spending....


Number of Charter Schools by Locale, 2003–04 to 2006–07

The number of charter schools in all locales is on the increase....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Education Policy, Graphs, School Location


School Discipline: An Occasional Series on Developments in School Disciplinary Policies and Practices

New rules in Iowa limit the use of physical restraints and seclusion for students with disabilities. But some violations have surfaced....


Rural Trust to Examine Effectiveness of Competitive Grants for Rural Schools

Competitive grants are an increasingly important part of federal funding for schools. But will they reach the highest-poverty rural schools or enhance equal educational opportunity.


Two Stimulus Programs Attempt to Push School Reform

Two federal grant programs, both financed with stimulus funding, are trying to get states and school districts to make major changes to their educational structures and approaches. The programs seem divergent, but both emphasize common curriculum standards, tracking student data, and evaluating teacher performance on the basis of student test scores. RPM looks at how Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation are likely to affect rural schools…


Race to Top Revisions Slightly Better for Rural Schools

New guidelines for Race to the Top applications are slightly better for rural schools…


Race to the Top Criteria: The RPM Analysis

RPM provides a brief interpretation of the 19 criteria on which RTTT awards points to state grant proposals…