16 June 2006

Flatlined: How Illinois Shortchanges Rural Students>Aired 7 June 2006

What happens when a high school doesn't offer students classes like Spanish and calculus? Zach Lotz (left) of La Harpe, Illinois says it leaves him unprepared for college. And that's one reason he's joining the Army. In LaHarpe, located about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis, high school students don't have access to classes suburban kids take for granted. That's because La Harpe's homes and farms generate less property tax revenue for the schools than they did about 20 years ago. It's also because Illinois does little to equalize spending among school districts. This documentary originally aired on Chicago Public Radio as part of the Chicago Matters: Valuing Education series. It was produced by Todd Melby and Diane Richard.


Anonymous said...

Todd & Diane,
How much do you think this will effect how rural schools are treated? It would be nice to think that it would help but I don't think the Illinois Government really cares for the small guys (rural schools)! I hate how we, the small rural schools, get treated. How we miss out on all of the government funding because we don't have the numbers like urban schools.
Still, it was nice to have someone from out of the area see what we go through here at LaHarpe High. Good Luck with everything!

2006 Graduate (of 35)

Todd Melby said...

It's often difficult to gauge the impact of a documentary or other media reports. Our hope is that the story of LaHarpe raises awareness about inequities in the way Illinois funds schools. That awareness by citizens and legislators could affect the decisions made by legislators in Springfield. This documenatry aired in Chicago, Tri States Public Radio near LaHarpe, a commercial station in Carthage and was distributed statewide for use by public radio stations on "Illinois Edition." So we hope more people learned about the hurdles rural students in Illinois face in getting a great education.