The Rural School and Community Trust reports that in its most recent round of Investing in Innovation Grants (known as i3), the Department of Education “offered up to two bonus points if they included programs or strategies aimed at the particular challenges and needs of rural schools.
Of 49 recipients chosen, only 19 even claimed that some aspect of their grant would apply to rural schools, and most of those were not developed by or for rural schools, but were simply vague references to adapting innovations designed for urban settings. “Only two proposals are designed to operate entirely in rural schools.” Here’s the link to the full story and report:
Rural schools exist in a context that is fundamentally different from the urban context that draws most of the attention of education policy makers and scholars. Certainly, rural students and educators share many challenges common to the education process everywhere. But they also face unique challenges. Those are the challenges that proposals claiming the rural competitive preference in i3 were supposed to address. With only a few exceptions, they did not. Open competition is not the best way to encourage educational innovation in a rural context.
Yet, President Obama says Race to the Top is the “most influential education reform of our generation,” and it should be the model for ESEA reauthorization? Guess those who aren’t big enough or well-financed enough to compete just get left behind…