Rural Mo. Districts Worried About Reforms’ Urban-Focus, Ed. Tech. Gap

By Diette Courrégé Casey — July 19, 2013 1 min read
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Some rural Missouri school leaders don’t think they’re being given the chance to make the best decisions for their students’ unique needs.

The Missouri Times reports rural educators are upset about what they see as a loss of control in terms of teacher evaluation and new learning standards.

“We make the right decisions, but it seems that DESE [Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] hears the needs of urban and suburban schools more than ours,” said Darin Powell, the superintendent of Bowling Green Public Schools, in a Missouri Times story. “A lot of decisions lately seem a little more geared toward urban education, which is great, but our needs out here are different.”

That said, some of the rural leaders’ concerns about teachers’ evaluations, such as how much those should rely on student growth, seem to be the same as those of teachers everywhere.

One of the distinctly rural issues discussed appeared to be access to technology. Some rural Missouri superintendents said they don’t have the money to afford the technology required to test the new Common Core State Standards, and they were finding solutions within[dcc: WITH?-DV] local money because state and federal dollars weren’t sufficient.

“The mandate to test online with [Common Core] is a huge burden on us,” Powell said in the story. “That’s where suburban schools have a distinct advantage. We’re in a situation where, if funding is stagnant or not significantly increased, we are taking money from other places in order to gain more access, more bandwidth, things like that.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.