July 21, 2007

Senator Clinton Introduces Legislation to Benefit Rural Students

From the Hillary Clinton press office:

Thousands of students from rural Nevada communities may soon have access to new programs designed to improve educational achievement, build leadership and offer insight into higher education and career opportunities, thanks to legislation introduced by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Arlen Specter (R-PA).

Last week, Clinton and Specter introduced the Rural Students College , Career, and Community Readiness Act of 2007. The legislation will establish partnerships between non-profit entities and rural school districts to improve the educational and career outcomes of rural, low-income students.

“The facts are daunting and present a major hurdle in improving education for students in rural communities. If our country is to successfully compete in the global economy we must ensure all students have access to an excellent education," Senator Clinton said.

Under these partnerships, students in grades 7-12 will receive program workshops during the school day to develop career awareness and build leadership skills. The legislation would increase the number of rural students engaged in rigorous, college-preparatory coursework, improve their high school graduation rates, and prepare the next generation of leaders in rural communities.

Elko City Councilman John Patrick Rice, who is also Director of Institutional Advancement at Great Basin College and an outspoken advocate for Nevada’s rural communities, added, “The bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Clinton and Specter is important to K-12 and college students in rural Nevada. I consider it a good tool for helping create a strong workforce that can diversify the rural Nevada economy. Much of what I hear from companies planning to establish themselves in rural Nevada emphasizes the need for a well-trained, educated and skilled workforce. The colleges of rural Nevada are poised to provide that service. The partnerships this legislation encourages will help that mission tremendously.”

Roughly one in four public schools is located in rural America . Studies have shown students attending these rural schools generally have lower educational aspirations and lower post-secondary achievement than their urban and suburban peers.

“ Nevada has one of the fastest growing school systems in the country, however keeping pace with this expansion and providing all Nevada students with equal opportunities to succeed at the next level is challenging,” said Dennis Keating, President of the Nye County School District Board of Trustees. “Senator Clinton’s bold rural education initiative is an important piece of legislation that will help students of Nevada reach their full potential regardless of economic and geographic differences. I look forward to working with school districts, community leaders and non-profit organizations to implement the Rural Students College , Career, and Community Readiness Act of 2007.”

Senator Clinton has been a champion for improving educational opportunities for rural students. She has introduced legislation to improve access to high-quality after-school tutoring for students in rural schools and to expand broadband access in rural areas, enabling more opportunities for distance learning.

Cross-posted at the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus blog.

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