Neal named to rural-school task force

It’s one thing to deal with a failing school in a large city, another thing entirely when the failing school is in a small town or rural area.

To help officials deal with the differences, Colorado Board of Education member Marcia Neal was appointed to serve on a National Association of School Boards task force on rural and frontier education issues.

The U.S. Education Department’s usual prescriptions — firing principals, firing staff, changing a failing school to a charter school or closing the school — don’t work well in rural or small-town locations, the school boards association said in a press release.

The task force is geared toward problems that are typical in the 3rd Congressional District, which Neal represents on the state board of education, she said.

“I feel a real need to support these schools in their efforts and their different needs,” Neal said. “The schools in Silverton and Creede may be very different than those in Center or De Beque, and I will be advocating for more flexibility and more community input” in meeting requirements established in the No Child Left Behind law.

Colorado has 176 school districts, and most of them, more than 70 percent, are considered rural, Neal said.

The 3rd Congressional District includes most of the Western Slope and much of southern Colorado.

The task force is to complete its work by the end of the month.


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