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Where is 'Rural' in Race to the Top?

While Michele McNeil rounded up the Race to the Top big picture on the Politics K-12 blog, I asked Jerry Johnson from the Rural School and Community Trust for his quick take on the list from a rural schools perspective.

Here are some of his thoughts:

  • The list includes some "prototypically high-priority rural states," he said, such as Kentucky and Louisiana.

  • Many on the list are states that have shown a willingness to change their policies on charter school laws to strengthen their positions in the competition. (The Obama administration's focus on charter schools draws consistent fire from small, rural school districts where charters are not a ready option.)

  • The finalists with large absolute populations appear to be ones with low proportional rural enrollment, for example, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. That may mean rural schools will get left out of the mix even if those states do get funding.

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