Wednesday Roundup: Arizona Rural Schools

Farm bill on a tight deadline, Grassley says • Post Office moving to cluster mailboxes, apparently without a nationally approved plan • Rural breast cancer patients get worse treatment results • Small-town doctor among first to adopt electronic medical records

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The Science Foundation Arizona is committing $15 million over the next three years to address an “alarming need” to improve math and science education in the state’s rural schools.

The funds for the project come from an anonymous donors, the Arizona Republic reports. The funds are a stopgap measure, not a long-term fix to education funding, a foundation official said.

The funding initiative comes after the Science Foundation conducted a mail survey of rural educators whose “answers reflected rural educators’ struggles with high community poverty levels and extremely limited classroom resources.”

The Republic reports:

The [anonymous] donor had approached Science Foundation Arizona, noticed that most of the group’s resources were centered on the state’s urban areas and asked, “How do you know what education needs are, really, outside major cities in Arizona?”

[Margaret] Mullen, [the foundation’s chief operating officer,] said she hopes the initial $15 million donation will encourage other philanthropists, corporations and foundations to invest in rural education.

“It’s an issue we need to address if we expect them to implement the Common Core,” Mullen said. “We’re leaving behind a lot of children.”

Interior Secretary to Address NCAI. Sally Jewell, the new Secretary of the Interior, is set to deliver her first national address to tribal leaders, governments and citizens at the Mid Year Conference of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Reno, Nevada. 

Jewell will speak at the closing session of the conference the morning of Thursday, June 27. The conference begins Monday, June 24, and is estimated to attract 800 to 1,000 people.

(The NCAI conference overlaps with this year’s National Rural Assembly, June 23-26, in Bethesda, Maryland. NCAI President Jefferson Keel will address the National Rural Assembly via Internet videocast on Monday, June 24.)

Make or Break – The House of Representatives will have to act this month to avoid a repeat of last year’s farm bill quagmire, in which Congress wound up extending the 2008 farm bill because it couldn’t pass new legislation. Earlier this week the Senate passed its version of a new farm bill. Sen. Chuck Grassley said the timeline is tight for the House to take up the bill.

“The House will need to pass a bill by the end of this month if there is any hope of working on the differences between the House and the Senate before our August summer break,” Grassley said. “If we saw anything last year it was that letting the farm bill expire creates even greater uncertainty and anxiety for those who care about farm legislation.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who has been opposed to the bill, vowed his chamber will have a “vigorous and open debate” about the bill later this month.

Cluster Mailboxes. Save the Post Office has a thorough report on the Post Office’s move to using “cluster” mailboxes and curbside delivery instead of delivering door to door. The changes are being enacted here and there, bit by bit around the country. Generally, old addresses are grandfathered in for door-to-door delivery, but there are some exceptions.  To date, there’s been no conversion plan submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission for review.  But Save the Post Office is documenting cases where the Post Office is changing to cluster mailboxes and curbside for a variety of stated reasons – office closings and safety issues, among them.

Plainville’s Special Doc – Dr. Jen Brull, a family doctor in the small western Kansas town of Plainville, is part of a national group that will help physicians make the transition from paper to electronic medical records.

Dr. Brull was named one of 28 Health IT Fellows, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator. She was the first Kansas physician (and among the first in the nation) to be federally certified for using electronic health records.

 

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