NREA Weekly Update: July 28th, 2023

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The Rural Educator

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Friends, the proposed cuts in the House Appropriations Bill would be devastating for rural education across the country. I urge you to contact your representatives in Congress and share your perspective on why robust federal funding for rural schools and students is so important. Let them know that cuts to programs like Title I and Title II will hurt teacher recruitment and retention and reduce critical services for disadvantaged rural students. Ask them to prioritize the needs of rural communities and find solutions that demonstrate a solid commitment to supporting rural education, even in a challenging budget environment. Your voice matters, so please take a moment to advocate for equitable funding for our nation’s rural schools.  Below is our letter, which was sent this week. We encourage all organizations to sign on using the button below.  

Dear Speaker McCarthy, Chairwoman Granger, and Chairwoman Foxx:

The National Rural Education Association and the National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium, representing the diverse rural education community, are deeply alarmed by the House Appropriations Bill for the Department of Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education for Fiscal Year 2024.
The bill signals that the Federal Government is not interested in supporting a robust educational experience for all students. From the Massie Amendment to HR 5 and the levels of funding represented in the Appropriations Bill, rural communities are left wondering if our leaders in Washington, D.C., genuinely understand the harm this bill will cause to our most vulnerable students.
The bill eliminates $2.19 billion in Title II Funding – Supporting effective instruction state grants. This cut will eliminate the most significant federal investment in teacher and educational leader professional development. Rural schools are already struggling to recruit teachers to our communities. This cut will further reduce a district’s ability to attract and retain teachers and do a tremendous disservice to our students. We will not be able to provide their teachers with opportunities for professional growth.
The Title II elimination, in conjunction with the cuts to the Teacher prep programs, including $1.23 billion to Federal work-study, $173 million Teacher and Leaders Incentive Grants, $90 million to Supporting Effective Educator Development, $70 million Teacher Quality Partnerships, will decimate our already fragile teacher pipeline.
The bill rescinds $8.7 billion in advance funding for Title I grants to states. This is funding that school districts have already obligated for the 2023-2024 school year. The federal government reneging on this funding will force school leaders to eliminate teachers, increase class sizes, and utilize fewer resources to provide our students with the mandated and much-needed services. The bill further cuts new funding by $6.0 billion for a total $14.7 billion cut to Title I.
Title I is vital to rural school funding and supports our population's most disadvantaged students. Many rural schools use Title I to pay teacher salaries. Without this funding stream, rural schools will continue to lose teaching staff to the wealthier communities that can support their schools through increasing local revenues. The chart below illustrates how devastating this funding cut will be for states. This withdrawal of support for education will be felt deepest by the 25% of nationwide students attending a rural public school.

Under an unworkable topline spending allowance, the House Appropriations Bill for the Department of Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education for Fiscal Year 2024 returns to 2008 funding levels. A lack of federal investment in education, workforce development, agriculture, and research will decimate rural communities. Together we call on Congress to reject the bill and demonstrate their commitment to our nation’s students.
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The conversation doesn't stop here. In partnership with NREA, aiEDU hopes to continue creating opportunities for leaders in rural education ecosystems to engage, learn, and pioneer what education can look like in an AI-powered world. We believe that folks like you can lead your school communities into an era of enhanced learning and innovation.
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