New legislation would fix a situation where funding is not going rural and mid-size urban schools as intended. AFBF’s Rural Development specialist R.J. Karney explained the problem and how the All Children are Equal Act would fix it to AFBF’s Johnna Miller.

Miller: The All Children are Equal Act corrects a major flaw in existing legislation for the education of disadvantaged students in the nation’s schools.

Karney: The intention of Congress is to send the funds to school districts with high concentrations of poverty. Unfortunately that’s not happening. Instead the funding is going to really big schools where poverty isn’t a big issue, but they have large numbers of low-income students because of the school size.

Miller: American Farm Bureau Rural Development Specialist R.J. Karney says the new legislation would correct that, by focusing on the concentration of poverty versus simply the number of low-income students. The current formula has kept the funding from going where it was intended to rural, small town and moderate-sized urban schools.

Karney: It all comes down to an equality issue. Why would one student in rural America be counted less than one student in urban or suburban America? That’s what the crux of this issue is. One student should count equally across the board.

Miller: And Karney says despite the gridlock facing so much in Congress these days, this legislation has bipartisan support and there’s no good reason it should stall.

Karney: This legislation does not ask for more money. This act is just trying to correct this flaw.

Miller: Johnna Miller, Washington.

Miller: We have two extra actualities with AFBF’s R.J. Karney. In the first extra actuality he explains why farmers and ranchers care about this legislation. The cut runs 10 seconds, in 3-2-1.

Karney: The American Farm Bureau believes that strong rural schools are vital to enhancing the lives of rural Americans. A strong rural school system will help foster the development of prosperous rural communities.

Miller: In the second extra actuality Karney talks about the hurdles ahead for the All Children are Equal Act. The cut runs 39 seconds, in 3-2-1.

Karney: The promising fact is this is a bipartisan piece of legislation and in this politically divisive climate that we currently see having a bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives is a major milestone. We are confident that this will gain support as members learn about that and we’re currently working on gaining more cosponsors for this legislation. There is no companion legislation in the Senate right now. The Senate has not addressed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which Title I belongs to, but the pushback is really going to come from these larger school districts that may see a gradual reduction in the amount of money that they receive.

Miller: Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm eastern time. Thank you for listening.

Source: American Farm Bureau Federation