To the Editor:
The U.S. Department of Education can hope that the controversy over the awarding of the contract for the National Research Center on Rural Education Support has cooled, but dissatisfaction with the department is just heating up (“New Rural Education Center Launches Research Projects,” April 6, 2005).
Ignoring the unique educational needs of rural communities, the department funded a project that could have been done in any city. Add this incident to the growing list of the department’s failures to address the educational needs of rural communities, including the elimination of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, the phantom Rural Education Task Force, and the Regional Educational Laboratory system’s minimal efforts to develop strategies that utilize schools as critical components in reforming education and revitalizing rural communities.
It’s time for the Department of Education to stop treating rural schools like small-city schools and fulfill its obligation to rural Americans.
Michael L. Arnold
Education Strategy Group