It reminds me of a scene from an old sitcom, where the husband has forgotten his wife’s birthday (or their anniversary), then tries to play it off.

Sec. Duncan and his department found themselves in just such a spot recently when rural educators and their supporters rightfully called them out on the continued urban focus (some would say preference) in ed policy and funding. As reported in EdWeek, states with a high percentage of rural schools are particulary upset by criteria in the Race to the Top granting process that clearly favor urban settings.

RTT Director, Joanne Weiss, tried to smooth things over saying, “There’s nothing in the Race to the Top Fund that would in any way disadvantage states with large rural populations. We expect to see some variations in the types of applications we get and the types of solutions we get.” Yes, but we probably won’t be surprised by who actually gets the money.

The focus on urban schools and the students they serve, of course, is justified. Millions of students are affected by what is and is not going right in those schools. But anyone who is paying attention can see the needs of rural schools and students, particularly the rural poor, are at best an afterthought in the Administration’s education reform agenda.

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