WASHINGTON January 08, 2018
Today President Trump announced an initiative to achieve prosperity for rural America by advancing innovation and technology in these challenged communities. While this is promising news, education opportunity must be the foundation if the new initiative is to succeed.
The Administration's focus on 5 areas have a natural education connection: 1) e-connectivity for rural America, which must include incentives for creating new rural education initiatives; 2) improving quality of life–will only be achieved when the quality of education improves; 3) supporting a rural workforce–again, requiring new pathways to education and training to attract and prepare workers; 4) harnessing technological innovation–an absolute must for 21st century learning; and 5) economic development–which can only be achieved, and maintained, with a well-educated and well-trained workforce.
In its First 100 Days, and since, CER has urged the Administration to boldly consider efforts to bolster the use of existing and expected federal funds to create the potential for expanded, personalized learning that employs 21st century technologies. We've recommended the use of new infrastructure dollars to support public-private partnerships that will drive the creation of new schools, connected by new roads and new digital pathways, that can encourage more education for learners at all levels. This would not only dramatically improve the quality of education in rural America, but increase options and opportunities for learning, which spurs the economic growth the president is hoping to achieve and entices people to stay, or move to these improved communities. We all know that great education is at the heart of vibrant communities. With an expanded focus on providing more and better learning opportunities for all students, an expanded economy will follow.
Jeanne Allen is Founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform and a noted authority on Ed Tech.