Simpson Questions Duncan on TRiO Upward Bound
In a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing last week Congressman Simpson questioned Secretary of Education Arne Duncan regarding a recent decision by the Department of Education to change preference ratings for schools for the upcoming TRiO Upward Bound grant competition.
The revised list of schools receiving the “persistently lowest-achieving” (PLA) status appears to give a distinct advantage to schools in certain areas, including high schools in Chicago, where more than 60 are on the list, while disadvantaging the state of Idaho which had no high schools included. A number of other rural states are also disadvantaged by the change. In the past, states had set the definition of PLA’s, but the new standard has changed the competition significantly – with no explanation yet from the Department of Education as to why the change was made.
An explanation would be helpful for me and the entire TRiO community to understand the reasons behind this change.
Secretary Duncan replied that he would look into it and respond to the concern. Simpson also followed up with a letter describing his concerns in more detail.
The Upward Bound program has a history of success in Idaho and has helped numerous disadvantaged students go to college and graduate.
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