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Secretary's Tour Takes Rural Turn in Arkansas

A rural learning center and rural high school in Hamburg, Ark., will be among the first stops Education Secretary Arne Duncan's Get on the Bus Tour makes today as it heads through the South.

John White, deputy secretary for rural outreach for the Education Department, is joining the tour today. The Rural Education blog plans to be in touch with White as the entourage rolls through Arkansas after leaving Little Rock. Check back throughout the day for updates.

Hamburg, Ark., population 3,039, is in Ashley County, in the southeastern corner of Arkansas, near the border where Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana meet. The school district has one high school, Hamburg High, enrollment 365.

Also of note, Secretary Duncan specifically mentioned rural school interests in his remarks Wednesday at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. He pledged a commitment to formula funding but also defended competitive grant programs, which rural education advocates have criticized.

"We will maintain key formula programs for low-income students, English learners, special education students, and other special populations like homeless, migrant and rural students," Duncan said. "But we also want to embed into the law competitive grant programs like Race to the Top that are proving so effective in driving reform at the state and local level."

Here's a link to the full text of the speech.

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