Wyoming to Washington: Send Support, Not Ultimatums

By Mary Schulken — July 27, 2010 1 min read
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Rural schools need reforms in federal education policy that provide support, not ultimatums, rural educators told a U.S. Senate committee holding a field hearing in Gillette, Wyo.

“If they want to help schools that are struggling, the government needs to bring people in to support the schools, specifically in professional development,” said Kevin Mitchell, superintendent of Park County School District 1 in northwest Wyoming. “When schools are in trouble, they don’t need a book to read, and they don’t need a website to go to.”

Read the full report in the Gillette News Record. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chaired the field hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in Gillette on July 23. It was one of a series of hearings scheduled on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Familiar themes surfaced in Wyoming. In particular, panelists said reforms currently being pushed in Washington lack an understanding of the problems faced by small, rural schools. Educators also stressed a need to offer rural schools greater flexibility using federal funds and targeting solutions in low-performing schools.

Duncan on the ropes in Delaware

Meanwhile, on the same day rural educators in Wyoming were criticizing federal education policy reforms, Education Secretary Arne Duncan got a crash course in goat-handling—and agricultural education—in Delaware.

Duncan and his administration officials began a summer tour of state fairs last week, meeting with Future Farmers of America students. Duncan learned how to show an animal and toured 4H student projects.

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