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As of now, the Department of Justice/Department of Agriculture hearing on the livestock business in Fort Collins, Colorado, will NOT be webcast. That’s a loss, as far as we’re concerned and we’ve contacted Justice asking that they reconsider.

If you’d like to let them know you’d appreciate being able to watch the hearing, contact Mark Tobey at 202-532-4763 or email him at: agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov.

• The federal Department of Education has announced the winners in its “Race to the Top” competition. The winners will split $3.4 billion. It turns out that being a rural state was a disadvantage in this contest. 

No western state won in this “race.” And rural states in particular didn’t do well. We quote at length from Sam Dillon’s story in the New York Times: 

Educators in many of the states that did not win, or did not even participate in the competition — which includes every state from Tennessee west to the Pacific — said they were hamstrung from the outset.

They said the competition’s rules tilted in favor of densely populated Eastern states, which tend to embrace more the ideas that Washington currently considers innovative, including increasing the number of charter schools and firing principals in chronically failing schools.

But those rules have seemed a poor fit for the nation’s rural communities and sparsely populated Western regions, experts said.

In small towns, for example, there is often just one school, so setting up a parallel charter school might not be feasible. It can also be hard to attract principals to such communities. And many of rural states do not have the resources or staff to write sophisticated grant applications.

“This whole effort had more of an urban than a rural flavor,” said Armando Vilaseca, commissioner of education of Vermont, whose state did not participate in either round of Race to the Top.

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