Here at Bellwether’s great new blog, I’m going to be writing regularly about rural K-12, with special attention to the important developments getting too little attention and the interesting reform work flying under the radar.
Some of these posts will be dedicated to fascinating, hot-off-the-presses research from the ROCI Task Force, a joint effort of a group of terrific scholars (led by Paul Hill), Bellwether, and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. Stay tuned for my first installment along these lines: a piece about Hill’s excellent introductory piece to the ROCI work and contemporary rural education reform.
But to get things kicked off, I wanted to offer just a flavor of the big stuff going on in this field. I strongly believe more K-12 practitioners, policymakers, and observers should track rural education. These schools represent a significant part of America’s K-12 system, and they educate millions of low-income kids.
- The South Carolina Supreme Court just ruled that the state’s system for funding public schools is unfair to low-income rural areas and that the state legislature needs to fix things.
- This article on public schools serving rural Native American kids (including information on the tragic mindset that produced these schools and the utter disrepair of their facilities) will open your eyes and tear at your heart. This excellent Emily Richmond piece for The Atlantic describes the continued academic struggles of Native-American students.
- The Hechinger Report turned in this look at how a low-income rural Mississippi school is implementing Common Core.
- A rural-district superintendent from Idaho describes the outsized importance of schools to rural communities, the continued loss of population in rural areas, and the challenges faced by rural-school administrators.
- An opinion piece in Ed Week discussed the yawning gap between the needs of rural schools and the attention they receive (with some important educator-related statistics).
I hope folks take an increased interest in rural schools and the issues facing them. Lots of kids would be well served if policymakers, researchers, philanthropists, and commentators took a closer look at the thousands of schools located outside of America’s cities and suburbs.
This series on rural K-12 education is supported by a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.