Opinion
Education Funding Letter to the Editor

Lack of Resources Hampers Rural Grant Applications

January 08, 2013 1 min read

To the Editor:

Save the Children, through its work in poor, rural communities, knows the obstacles small, rural school districts face. Through a process dubbed the Rural Empowerment Model, we connect rural districts with national partners and provide intensive support to “empower” them to win competitive grants and run quality programs.

We worked with the Roane County, W.Va., school system, a district of 2,300 students in rural Appalachia, to submit an application for a federal Race to the Top-District grant. Through the Rural Empowerment Model, Roane has a strategic plan to reform its educational practices and the internal capacity to write other grant proposals. Unfortunately, very few small, rural school districts made the cut—and Roane was not among them (“Race to the Top District Winners Announced,” District Dossier, edweek.org, Dec. 11, 2012).

The RTT-D competition has brought the challenges preventing small, rural districts from competing for and winning these grants into sharp relief.

First, RTT-D finalists pointed to an evidence base that supports their program models. Applicants like Roane County that have not had the opportunity to pilot their models need seed money to build evidence in order to compete with applicants that are already scaling proven models.

Second, Roane County does not have a pool of highly skilled candidates ready to assume the specialized jobs needed for innovative reform. Applicants in proximity to university graduates and other qualified talent would have a clear edge.

Finally, small, rural school districts are isolated by their nature, so even if they achieve change, the ability to export and scale up that change to other districts is less certain. It is reasonable that a reviewer would favor an application with a clear path for scalability, something present with a consortia or large-district application.

To level the playing field, rural districts should participate against their peers in separate competitions for funding. Children deserve an equal chance to receive innovative approaches to their education regardless of their ZIP codes.

Andrew Hysell

Associate Vice President

Save the Children

Washington, D.C.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2013 edition of Education Week as Lack of Resources Hampers Rural Grant Applications

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Education Funding Webinar
From Crisis to Opportunity: How Districts Rebuild to Improve Student Well-Being
K-12 leaders discuss the impact of federal funding, prioritizing holistic student support, and how technology can help.
Content provided by Salesforce.org

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Schools Can Help Families Apply for Federal Help in Paying for Home Internet Access
Families who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program can get $50 off their monthly broadband bills.
2 min read
Image of a child's hand on a keyboard.
kiankhoon/IStock/Getty
Education Funding Miguel Cardona's First Budget Hearing Becomes Forum on In-Person Learning, 1619 Project
In his first public testimony to Congress as education secretary, Cardona also touched on standardized testing and student discipline.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, right, talks to 12th grade art student Madri Mazo at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. on April 22, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, left, talks to 12th grade art student Eugene Coleman at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. in April.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images