McCaskill Challenges Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Cuts to Rural Schools

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote to Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting answers on how the agency will support rural schools in the face of proposed budget cuts that hurt funding for programs that support students in rural areas. Seventy percent of Missouri’s school districts are in rural areas.

“Quality public schools are the best and only viable choice for a lot of Missourians, and resources for rural schools shouldn’t go on the chopping block,” McCaskill said. “Ensuring our kids and grandkids have the best education possible is absolutely essential, and I’m very concerned that the proposed cuts to rural education could devastate teachers and students in our state.”

In her letter to DeVos, McCaskill requested details on how the proposed cuts to the Department of Education would affect rural public education and what the agency will do to address the needs of rural schools. “It remains unclear how the Department plans to address or mitigate the devastating impact these [budget] cuts can have on schools across the country, particularly in rural areas,” McCaskill wrote. McCaskill’s letter also asked for an update on how the Department of Education is implementing recommendations from their Inspector General to conduct better oversight over programs that support rural school districts.

McCaskill, who attended Missouri public schools and the University of Missouri, has been a longtime advocate for Missouri students. In 2015, the advancement of the nation’s largest education overhaul since 2001 included a combination of provisions from McCaskill such as legislation to support military spouses by letting teachers transfer credentials across state lines, and a plan to improve health education with a focus on safe relationships and consent. In 2011, McCaskill held a series of roundtable discussions in rural, urban, and suburban Missouri communities to hear from educators, parents, administrators and students about the need to reform the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. McCaskill also supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which saved or created more than 8,000 elementary and secondary school jobs in Missouri.

Read McCaskill’s letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos HERE.

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