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Long-Running South Carolina Funding Lawsuit Decided

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled the state is failing its constitutional duty to fund “minimally adequate” schools in low-wealth rural school districts.


Rural Districts Key Plaintiffs in Recent School Finance Lawsuits

As states have failed to restore recession-era school funding cuts, citizens and school districts are seeking redress in the courts.


Charters, School Finance Ruling All Mixed Up in Washington State

The relationship between school funding for regular public schools and charters can be complicated. Lawsuits in Washington reveal some of the reasons why.


USDA's Farm to School Grant Program Enables Schools to Bring Healthy, Locally-grown Food to the School Cafeteria

Through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program, schools are able to incorporate fresh, local food into their school meals and teach students about healthy eating through hands-on experience in their own school gardens as well as nutrition education in the classroom.


FBI Study of "Active Shooter" Incidents

An FBI report sheds light on more than a decade of mass shooting incidents.


School Safety: Issues and Complications in Recent Headlines

States and districts have employed a variety of strategies to address school safety concerns in recent years. But events in several states have pointed to complications in outcomes.


Demographics, Locale Influential in College-Going Rates

Most recent American high school graduates spend some time in college. But students who graduate from high schools with certain characteristics are much less likely to make it to college than their peers.


More Indicators American Child Well-Being is Declining

More American children and youth are homeless than ever before; cuts to recess and P.E. in school may be damaging more than students’ physical health.


Office of Civil Rights Guidance for Schools

Guidance issued earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights addresses what states and districts should do to ensure equal access to educational resources and opportunities.


Made in Rural America: USDA Report

A recent report provides information on state-level USDA investments in rural economic development.


Coalition for Teaching Quality Policy Recommendations

Report outlines steps for ensuring high quality teachers for all students.


Rural Trust Joins Coalition in Push for Equal Access to Well-Prepared and Effective Educators For Each and Every Child

On October 7, 2014, the Rural School and Community Trust joined the Coalition for Teaching Quality on Capitol Hill in urging Congress to push for a comprehensive road map for ensuring there are well-prepared and effective educators for each student, regardless of need, color or disability.


U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights Releases Guidance to Ensure that All Students have Equal Access to Educational Resources

On October 2, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights released guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter to ensure that all students have equal access to educational resources. The guidance provides detailed and concrete information to educators on the standards established by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Deadline to apply for Fritz Fischer Scholarship Fund is December 15, 2014

The National Council for History Education (NCHE) is a non-profit organization which brings together historians, teachers, education specialists, university faculty, community leaders, museums, archives, libraries, and historical societies to ensure not only that history was being taught in our schools, but that excellence of instruction and learning occurred


Poverty Rates Unchanged for Rural Children

Newly released census data find that overall rates of poverty in the U.S. declined very slightly in 2013. Child poverty rates also fell slightly. Yet nearly one in four American children live in poverty and rates vary widely among states, across racial/ethnic groups, and between place types.


Action on School Finance Lawsuits Heats Up

Courts in Washington and Texas have issued rulings favoring school districts, and a new school finance lawsuit is filed in Mississippi.


Battles Continue Over Teacher Employment Issues

Politically charged fights over teacher tenure, contract negotiations, and testing rage on in states and at the federal level.


Rural School and Community Trust to Participate in Rural Education National Forum, Oct. 27-28

The Rural Education National Forum, hosted by Battelle for Kids, offers participants an opportunity to share successful models of transformation and highlight powerful instructional and leadership practices underway in rural districts across the country. Rural Trust Communications Director, Mr. Robert Mahaffey will participate in panel discussions at the Columbus, Ohio event.


Report Reveals that Rural Children More Likely to Rely on Medicaid and State-Funded Insurance Programs than their Urban Counterparts

On September 10, 2014, First Focus, a children's advocacy organization, released a report which shows that children in rural communities are more likely than their urban counterparts to get health care through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid.


Nominations for the 2015 Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership are Now Being Accepted

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has announced a grant of nearly $14.5 million from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment to expand its MBA program in education leadership.


Why Rural Matters 2013-14 Garners National Attention at Capitol Hill Briefing

On July 9, 2014, Rural Trust staff and researchers presented the key research findings of Why Rural Matters 2013-14 at a policy briefing on Capitol Hill. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative Glen Thompson (R-PA) sponsored this Hill event, which was attended by a diverse group of educators, policy enthusiasts and rural supporters.


September 9 - Deadline to Apply for the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), in partnership with its fourteen state-based program sites, is recruiting for the 2014-2015 cohort of the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), a program which prepares high-potential individuals for positions of leadership in education and related fields.


Vermont Stands Up, Respects Parents and Teachers

A high-achieving state stands up to the federal law that deems its schools “low performing.”


Summer Crop of Finance Studies

Back to school season sees a fresh set of studies on the effects of school finance systems.


North Carolina Vouchers: Unconstitutional

The Tarheel State’s controversial voucher program is an unconstitutional use of taxpayer dollars and fails other important aspects of education law, according to an August court ruling.


Proposals due Sept. 5, 2014: Global Teacher Fellowship Program Evaluation

In many rural schools and communities, highly effective educators are difficult to recruit and retain. This challenge is particularly debilitating in remote rural communities and in places with high concentrations of children of color and poverty. The Rural Trust's goal is to develop and support highly effective teachers and leaders who are particularly disposed to and skilled at teaching, learning, and living in rural places.


Washington Court and Legislature Nearing Showdown Over School Funding

Washington’s state legislature is unlikely to meet a Supreme Court deadline related to the state’s school finance lawsuit and it’s not clear what the Court will do about it.


Georgia Gun Law: So Far No School Takers

Schools in Georgia are not opting into provisions in a new law that makes it possible to arm teachers and other staff members.


WRM Briefing Prompts Floor Speech on Title I Equity

The Capitol Hill briefing of Why Rural Matters prompts Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson to call for reforms to Title I funding formulas.


California Tenure Ruling: Big Splash, Unclear Consequences

A California ruling on teacher tenure changes little in the short run, but frames a big political debate on the future of teaching and public sector job rights.


North Carolina Teacher Policy Debates Move to Budget Process

North Carolina teachers won back some of their tenure protections, but that fight has moved to the state budget process, where several education policies are under debate.


USDA Extends Community Eligibility Deadline to August 31, 2014

The USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows participating high poverty schools to offer healthy free lunches and breakfasts to all students, without requiring their families to complete individual applications.


Why Rural Matters 2013-14 Released

The Rural Trust releases Why Rural Matters 2013–14.


Facts and Figures About Children and Poverty

Question: Is a child more likely to live in poverty in a rural or urban area?


Rural Trust Announces the 2014 Rural Leonore Annenberg School Fund Grantees

The Rural Trust announces that two rural elementary schools will receive grants from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund.


Students Lead Poverty Reduction

In rural St. Gabriel, Louisiana, students are continuing their work to reduce poverty in the local community.


Community-School Collaborations Improve Outcomes

A newly released guide, co-sponsored by the Rural Trust, urges school districts to expand partnerships with their communities to improve student outcomes.


"Community Schools" Concept Gaining Ground

The idea that schools must be the centers of communities where educators, families, and community partners work together is gaining momentum as seen at the 2014 National Forum of the Coalition for Community Schools.


Teachers Feel More Stressed and Disregarded Than Other Workers

Teachers feel more stressed and less likely to think their opinions matter than other workers, but policies and administrative practices make a big difference.


Partnerships, NOT Pushouts: New "Whole-Child" Policy Guide for School Board Members

On April 22, 2014, a new "Whole-Child" policy guide was released which details how school board members can lead the way in securing a high-quality education for each and every student in their district.


Ensuring that High-Poverty Schools are Hunger-Free Through Community Eligibility

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as offered by the National School Lunch Program, provides an alternative approach for offering school meals to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools in low income areas, instead of collecting individual applications for free and reduced price meals.


Register Now for Summer Food Assistance Call

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the US Department of Agriculture Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships have invited stakeholders to join Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and White House officials for a conference call on Thursday, May 15, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time.


Thirty-one Rural Teachers Awarded Travel Fellowships

Thirty-one rural teachers have been selected for the 2014 class of Rural Trust Global Teacher Fellows. The awards, totaling nearly $200,000, will enable Fellows to travel to Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Central America, and Europe.


Rural Trust Announces the 2014 Rural Leonore Annenberg School Fund Grantees

The Rural School and Community Trust is pleased to announce that Greenville Elementary School in Greenville, Florida and Stewart Street Elementary in Quincy, Florida will receive grants through the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children.


Narrowing the Achievement Gap: Grade-level Reading by the End of Third Grade

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.


Focusing on Wellness Connects Students to Their Communities

A south Georgia elementary school commits to helping kids get and stay fit and healthy—and connected to each other and their diverse community.


Discipline, Teachers, Curriculum, Preschool: Equity a Big Challenge in U.S. Schools

Comprehensive data from all U.S. public schools demonstrates that some groups of students consistently face challenges to educational opportunity in school.


School Funding Unconstitutional in Kansas

The Kansas Supreme Court has found the state is failing to meet its constitutional requirement to provide equitable funding for school districts.


Report Finds Negative Effects of Recession on School Funding

A recent report finds that education funding has declined in most states since the Great Recession—and that funding has become less fair.


USDA Announces Request for Applications for FY 2015 Farm to School Grants

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School grants help eligible schools improve the health and well-being of their students and connect schools with local farmers, ranchers and food businesses. This grant program provides new economic opportunities to food producers and bring healthy, local offerings into school cafeterias.


Valuable, Flexible, and Cost-Effective: Making the Most of Small Scale

The RPM series “Rural Matters: The Implications of Rural Characteristics for Public Policy,” explores attributes that make a place rural and, therefore, different from urban and suburban places. In this installment we look at the characteristic of low population — and its corresponding attribute smallness — and consider ways in which this rural characteristic should inform public policy, especially education policy.


Administration Announces "Made in Rural America" Export and Investment Initiative

On February 7, 2014, the President directed his Administration, working through the White House Rural Council, to lead a new "Made in Rural America" export and investment initiative.


Urban School Closures Similar to Rural Closures

The National Opportunity to Learn Campaign addresses school closures in urban areas.


Facts and Figures: How Many Children Attend America's Poorest 10% of Rural Schools?

Question: How many children attend America’s poorest 10% of rural schools?


There's Poverty...

Thoughts on what it means to talk about poverty and to address it in very distressed communities.


All Children Everywhere

The nation’s first rural Promise Neighborhood is entering its third year. In this issue of RPM we talk with some of its staff and hear about approaches, emerging successes, and opportunities.


Family Engagement: Lasting Positive Impact

Family engagement is the one of the pillars of the work Partners for Education is building in the Promise Neighborhood. We explore some of the ways the Berea initiative builds relationships across schools and communities.


Promise Neighborhoods: Promising, Challenging, Exhilarating

Three rural Promise Neighborhood grant recipients offer perspective on the work.


Rural Education Summit at Berea College

A national Rural Education Summit spotlights the need for investment in rural communities and schools and some of the rewards those investments bring.


It's Complicated... Why What's Rural Matters

America’s relationship with its rural areas is complicated. But taking rural characteristics into account can make schools and communities better, not just for rural students and residents but for everyone. In this first installment in the RPM series “Rural Matters: The Implications of Rural Characteristics for Public Policy,” we explore meaning in the many definitions of rural.


Colorado School Funding Defeat

Voters delivered a blow to education interests seeking support to address long-standing school finance issues and recent budget cuts.


California State Senator Liu Hosts Community Schools Bus Tour

A tour of California schools using the community-schools model to support children and families garners significant attention.


Rural High Schools Can Use OECD Test to Gauge and Improve Student Achievement

The Rural School and Community Trust is very pleased to announce our endorsement and enthusiastic support for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Test for Schools.


Impact Aid School Districts Bear Brunt of Federal Budget Cuts

When the across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as the Sequester, took effect on March 1, 2013, school districts receiving federal Impact Aid experienced an immediate reduction of funds for the 2012-2013 school year, because funding for the Impact Aid Program is used the same school year it is appropriated.


Tragedies Reflect Patterns in School Violence

Deadly violence in U.S. schools tends to occur in mass shootings or in events that target a specific individual. Both types of violence claimed the lives of beloved teachers this month.


Effective Discipline Key to Reducing Student and Teacher Dropout Rates

A report issued this month explores the relationship between ineffective and exclusionary school discipline practices and high rates of student and teacher dropout rates and negative student contact with the criminal justice system.


New Reports Address Important Issues for Student and Community Well-Being

Recent reports highlight key issues for improving outcomes for students, especially those in economically challenged communities.


Register Now for PISA Day, Dec. 3, 2013, Live Digital Event

You are invited to participate in PISA Day 2013: Learning Beyond the Rankings. This national digital event, streamed live at PISADay.org, will examine the results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and their implications for U.S. education policy.


USDA Farm to School Census Results Released

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities shows promising results. The census indicates that there were over 38,000 schools with 21 million students serving over $350 million in local food in the 2011-2012 school year.


Rural Trust Participates in Pathways to Partnership Bus Tour Across California

Between October 14 and 16, the Rural Trust participated in Pathways to Partnership: Community Schools Strategies in Action, a three-day, statewide bus tour which explored how the community schools strategy is being implemented in California.


Rural Trust Holds Place-Based Learning Workshops for Rural Elementary Schools in Georgia and South Carolina

In July and August 2013, the Rural Trust conducted Place-Based learning (PBL) institutes for North Mitchell County Elementary School in Baconton, GA and D.P. Cooper Elementary School in Salters, SC. Both rural elementary schools recently received grants from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children.


Rural Policy Matters: September 2013

Rural Policy Matters: September 2013The September 2013 issue of Rural Policy Matters welcomes readers back to the 2013–14 school year; features an article on the work of the Rural Trust; explores dramatic policy developments in North Carolina; and covers a report on the effects of the recession on state education spending.


Facts and Figures About High School Graduation Rates Between Metro and Nonmetro Counties

Question: True or False: In recent years the gap in high school graduation rates between metro and nonmetro counties has been growing.


Rural Trust: Who We Are and What We Do

We at the Rural Trust recognize that it is important from time to time to take stock and communicate to our many constituents what we see as important about the work to which we are committed. We are taking the opportunity in this issue of RPM to do just that.


North Carolina Launches Dramatic Changes in Education

North Carolina’s legislature has instituted dramatic changes in policies affecting school funding, teachers, and privatization.


Education Spending Below Pre-Recession Levels in Most States

A report issued this month finds that most states are spending less per pupil than they did before the recession and that these cuts have negative short- and long-term economic and educational consequences.


Just Released: 2013 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools

The Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools is an annual poll that allows educators and policy makers to track public opinion about this nation’s public schools.


Schools That Change Communities to be Re-Broadcast on Sept. 25, 26 and Oct. 2, 2013

The documentary film, Schools That Change Communities will be re-broadcast on PBS World stations throughout New England, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, the South, the Midwest and the Southwest. The airing schedule is as follows: 9/25 at 6 pm and 9 pm; 9/26, at 2 am, 10 am, and 4 pm, 10/2 at 2 am, 10 am, and 4 pm. Viewers should check local listings as times may vary slightly by region of the country.


ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress Every Child Deserves a Fully-Prepared Teacher

What kind of teacher would you choose for your own child or grandchild: one who has completed their teacher training, or one who has just begun it? Doesn't every child deserve to have a fully-prepared teacher in the classroom from day one?


Register for Racial Healing Network Regional Calls

The Within Our Lifetime Network invites you to connect with others in your region who are committed to ending the impact of racism in our lifetime. The Within Our Lifetime Network,  which works to promotes racial healing and racial equity, invites you to join one of six scheduled calls in early September.


Upcoming ARCC Webinar: Building Rural Capacity to Implement New Education Reforms

On Friday, August 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm, EST, the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) will hold a webinar which focuses on building rural capacity to implement new education reforms.


Rural Trust Special Report on School Violence

Violence in U.S. Schools, 1975-2013This report updates the March special edition of RPM and includes information on violent incidents, updated graphics, and policy recommendations.


Is your School's Internet Access Fast Enough for Digital Learning?

EducationSuperHighway.org estimates that 80% of K-12 public schools in the US do not have sufficient Internet infrastructure for digital learning.


Now Archived: All Children Are Equal Act (ACE) Webinar

Title I dollars are the foundation of the federal commitment to closing the achievement gap between low-income and other students. Unfortunately, the current formula for distributing funds has led to less poor districts receiving larger per-pupil Title I awards than their higher poverty neighbors.


Rural Policy Matters: June 2013

Rural Policy Matters: May 2013The June 2013 issue of Rural Policy Matters focuses on rural schools that are doing great things. “Everyone a Stakeholder” features D. P. Cooper Elementary in South Carolina and the ways it has leveraged rural resources to give students a broad experience and to drive high achievement. Two stories describe the implementation of the Schools to Watch process in two struggling small town middle schools. “Schools Prove They Can Make Dramatic Improvements With Their Own Teachers: No Sanctions Necessary” provides an overview of the Schools to Watch process and its implementation, with support from an i3 grant, in two rural middle schools. “Building a Great School: No Punitive Sanctions Allowed” takes an in-depth look at the process in those two middle schools — with lots of insight from the principals at the two schools — and lots of photos.


Everyone a Stakeholder: D. P. Cooper Elementary Leverages Rural Assets for Students and Community

D. P. Cooper Elementary has marshaled non-traditional resources, including many of the best things about being rural, to benefit both students and community.


Schools Prove They Can Make Dramatic Improvements With Their Own Teachers: No Sanctions Necessary

The Schools to Watch: School Transformation Network is proving that formerly low-performing middle schools can turn themselves around by focusing on high quality relationships and positive culture and climate.


Building a Great School: No Punitive Sanctions Allowed

Two principals share how a process to build trust and collaboration and empower teachers has led to happy productive schools and soaring student achievement.


Facts and Figures About Median Household Income in the U.S.

Question: What was the median household income in non-metro counties in the U.S. in 2009?


Violence in U.S. Schools, 1975-2013: A Rural Trust Special Report

The March RPM special edition on school violence has been released as a downloadable Rural Trust special report and includes updated text and additional graphics. The report found surprising patterns in incidents of school violence, including important information for violence prevention. The report emphasizes rural perspectives throughout.


The Rules We Play By, Part 4: Legal Interventions

Legal interventions, specifically lawsuits, play an important role in shaping public policy and can have a range of surprising effects among the groups who bring them.


Federal Involvement in School Discipline Reform Yields Results

Federal officials have forced significant reforms to school disciplinary practices to reduce disparate treatment and keep students in school and out of prison.


Colorado Youth Win Agreement to Stem the School to Prison Pipeline

A youth-led coalition has won another victory in the process of improving policies in order to keep students out of the criminal justice system.


North Carolina State Board Takes Stand Against Corporal Punishment

As its use dies out, the state board officially discourages the use of corporal punishment.


Texas Districts Prevail in Ruling; Appeal Will Follow

The school funding trial in the Lone Star State has ended, but legislative response and plans for an appeal to the state supreme court are underway.


Formula Fight in Ohio: Big Questions about New Directions

Governor John Kasich released his budget proposal earlier this year, but legislators and education stakeholders have not embraced it in the face of questions about equity, privatizing initiatives, and actual impact on schools.


Colorado School Finance Action in Court and Legislature

The Colorado Supreme Court heard oral arguments and ruled on the constitutionality of the state’s school finance system in advance of the Legislature undertaking reforms to that system.


Washington Legislature Works to Address Court Order

As this year’s session ends, lawmakers approve increases for education, but it is still unclear whether voters must approve tax hikes.


School Fees at Issue in Idaho and California

An Idaho grandfather’s efforts to stop school districts from charging student fees has met with procedural hurdles; California will clarify when fees can be charged.


Louisiana Voucher Funding Unconstitutional

The Louisiana Supreme Court says voucher law diverts money exclusively designated for public schools.


Alabama Voucher Law Passes Amid Major Controversy

Alabama’s new voucher law may still face legal hurdles, despite overcoming one lawsuit before being signed by Governor Robert Bentley.


States Continue Charter School Debates

A number of states continue to struggle with policy decisions related to charter schools, particularly virtual charters.


Local Revenue per Pupil, 2000-2009

Schools in towns and rural communities have, on average, much less local revenue per pupil than schools in cities and suburbs.


Leadership Conference Education Fund releases report, Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child

Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality On April 15, 2013, the Leadership Conference Education Fund released their report, “Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child,” – a call to action to provide each and every child the education she or he deserves.


Some Rural Schools Among First to Face Sequester Cuts

While most cuts in federal education spending forced by sequestration — the across-the-board federal spending cuts that went into effect in March — will occur in the 2013–14 school year, states and districts that receive funding through the Secure Rural Schools Act must return a portion of funding already received.


White House Education Budget Unveiled

The White House budget for fiscal year 2014 includes a 4.6% increase in discretionary federal education spending, most of which is in pre-kindergarten programs and competitive grants.


Police in Schools Increase Arrests, According to Report on Discipline in Mississippi

Suspension rates are nine times higher in some Mississippi schools than the national average, entangling many children and youth in the criminal justice system for minor misbehaviors. 


U.S. Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearings On School-to-Prison Pipeline

Senate hearing is important federal acknowledgement of the school-to-prison pipeline crisis.


Office of Civil Rights Has Increased Its Enforcement Activity

A new report documents that the Office of Civil Rights has increased its enforcement and investigative activity and has expanded its involvement into issues it had not previously addressed, including sexual violence and bullying and harassment.


Federal Commission Highlights Funding as a Major Cause of Inequity Among Schools

A federal commission, of which Rural Trust President Doris Terry Williams is a member, recently issued their initial report, "For Each and Every Child." The report recommends a variety of ways to improve equity in schools and opportunity in communities.


Arizona Court Says Annual Inflationary Increase for Schools Are Not Optional

Funding increases for schools will resume after an Arizona court says the legislature cannot pick and choose which elements to support.


Arkansas Court Decision Jeopardizes Lake View Funding Reforms

A decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court could open the door to actions that reduce education finance adequacy and equity in the state.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence

Rural Policy Matters: Special Edition on School ViolenceThis special edition of Rural Policy Matters focuses on school violence and includes information about school violence incidents over the past 40 years. In addition, it includes policy recommendations, reflections, and graphics.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
The Distance Between

This editorial frames the report and brings a rural perspective to the current debate on public safety, guns, and schools.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
InfoGraphic: School Violence Incidents, 1974-2013

This infographic can be printed as either 8.5" x 11" or as 11" x 17".


About This Special Edition on School Violence: Purpose and Approach

Read this section to understand what we hope this special edition of RPM can contribute and why we took a narrative approach to our exploration of violent incidents in schools.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
Introduction: Methods and Definitions

Read this section to understand how we put this report together, how we defined “school violence,” and how we sorted specific incidents into meaningful categories.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
Summary of Patterns in the Incidents

Read this section to understand the major patterns inherent in the school violence events included in the report.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
In-Depth Exploration of Incidents

Read this section to get more detailed information about patterns in the incidents.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
Violence Begets Violence: Revenge, Copycatting, Triggers, and Threads

Read this section to learn about connections between specific incidents.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
Schools Inside and Out: Practices and Policy Initiatives to Protect Everyone in School Settings

Read this section for descriptions of practices and policies that can lead to safer, happier, and more productive schools.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
Chart of Mass Violence Incidents

View this chart for more specific information about the 80 incidents of Mass Violence identified in this report.


Percentage of Schools Reporting Violent Crime That Occurred at School By Locale

Schools in rural locations were more likely to report no violent crime than in school than schools in other locations.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence:
Conclusions: Putting It All In Context

Read this section for a brief summary and analysis of the context for reducing violence in American schools.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence: Not What You Think: Patterns in School Violence

This infographic presents major patterns in incidents of violence in schools since 1974. It can be printed on 8.5" x 11" paper.


RPM Special Edition on School Violence: InfoGraphic: What Makes Schools Safe Also Makes Them Successful

This infographic illustrates how school climate, connections, and relationships can reduce the likelihood of violence. It can be printed on 8.5" x 11" paper.


National Assembly on School-Based Health Care convention set for June 23-26

The National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC) will bring together hundreds of providers, administrators, educators, and advocates for their upcoming convention to be held June 23 -26, 2013 in Washington DC.


Department of Education's Equity Commission Releases, "For Each and Every Child"

For Each And Every Child” On February 19, 2013, the Co-chairs of the Equity and Excellence commission presented their report to Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. The Commission's report, “For Each and Every Child,” highlights the need to eliminate “education disparities affecting millions of underserved and disadvantaged students.” Rural Trust Executive Director and Capacity Building Director, Dr. Doris Terry Williams was appointed to the Commission in 2011.


Rural School Innovation Webinar: The STAR School

The featured innovation of this Rural School Innovations Series Webinar from February 2013 was the STAR School, and focused on the "3-to-3rd " Math Project.


Rural School Innovations Webinar: The STAR School

The featured innovation of this Rural School Innovations Series Webinar from February 2013 was Northern Arizona's STAR School and its 3-to-3rd Math Project.


Rural Education Conference Set for April 3-4, 2013

The National Center for Research on Rural Education will assemble researchers, practitioners and policymakers from across the country to discuss the factors influencing rural K-12 students' academic success at a conference to be held April 3–4, 2013, in Omaha.


Schools That Change Communities

This interesting one-hour documentary is now airing and will continue to air on many PBS stations around the country. Between January 30 and February 2, 2013, the program will broadcast on a large number of PBS stations that carry PBS World. Viewers should check local listings for the exact dates and times in their viewing area.


Some Ballot Initiatives Could Have Far-Reaching Outcomes

Voters decided education-related ballot initiatives in many states this month, some with potentially far-reaching results.


Voters Consider Ballot Initiatives on Education

Next month's elections will steer a course in many states with education initiatives on the statewide ballot.


School Turnaround Policies Unlikely to Improve Student Performance, According to Report

A new study argues that most current school reforms are unlikely to improve education and may weaken student performance, school climate, and communities. It argues instead for sustained investment in high-poverty schools, support for teachers, and authentic engagement of parents and communities in the development of reforms.


"Utilizing the Village" Rural Dropout Prevention Webinar Set for October 12

Utilizing the Village: Using Early Warning Indicators and Interventions to Help Rural Students Succeed in School is the second of a three-session webinar series on rural dropout prevention and recovery.


Charter Schools Enroll Fewer Students with Disabilities, Report Finds

Charters have significantly fewer students with special needs, according to the GAO, but the reasons why are unclear.


"Impact in Place": A New Federal Policy Direction?

Several federal initiatives have made place a key concept. A report released this month describes some of these initiatives. RPM provides interpretation and a rural perspective.


Future of Highly Qualified Teacher Rules Still Unclear

The Rural Trust, along with nearly 100 education, civil rights, and disability groups is urging Congress to reserve Highly Qualified status for teachers who have completed certification training. 


New Race to the Top Stresses Student-Teacher Relationships

Race to the Top guidelines announced late last month prioritize programs that build relationships between students and teachers at the classroom level.


Michigan State Board of Education Advises Districts to Revisit Zero-Tolerance Policies

Policymakers in Michigan have passed a resolution advising districts to address the alarming rates of suspensions and expulsions that have resulted from zero tolerance policies.
Date: June 26, 2012
Related Categories: Administrator, Elected Official/Staff, In Local News, Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters, Student
Related Tags: Discipline


Education Funding Reports Grade States and Districts

Several recent analyses of education spending have been released, and rural school finance advocates will recognize the themes. 


Major School Finance Litigation Underway Again in Kansas

Following a strong decision in their favor, Kansas districts are now challenging the state’s underfunding of education over the past six years.


Distribution of Traditional, Charter, and Public Schools by Locale, 2009-10 School Year

Rural communities are home to 33% of the nation’s regular public schools, 16% of charters, and nearly 23% of private schools.


Facts and Figures about States With Most Schools in Rural Places

Question: In which 15 states are more than half of all schools located in a rural place?


Rural School Innovation Webinar: Parents as Teachers

The featured innovation of this Rural School Innovations Series Webinar from June 2012 was Parents as Teachers, and focused on the i3 "Improving Educational Outcomes for American Indian Children" project, named BabyFACE.


Rural Policy Matters: May 2012

Rural Policy Matters: May 2012The May 2012 edition of Rural Policy Matters features stories on Place-Based Learning Events in Missouri and Vermont; youth-led poverty reduction work in Louisiana; new school discipline legislation in Colorado; school finance news from South Carolina and Iowa; and more.


Thomasville Rendezvous Celebrates Place-Based Learning

Over 100 participants spent time sharing their successes with place-based learning at this annual meeting, which also included workshops, the Coover Place-Based Education grant awards and the announcement of the 2012 Ozarks Teacher Corps.


"Moving to Higher Ground" Event Highlights Successes for Rural Schools and Students

The 2012 Vermont Rural Partnership’s annual place-based learning event for members of its network spotlighted youth-led and intergenerational projects that have transformed schools and communities.


Rural Louisiana Students Continue to Help Build Community Wealth

Student-run tax centers and other youth-led programs have returned over $320,000 to East Iberville residents this year and are building important school-community connections.


Colorado Students Win State Law Reforms of Student Discipline Code

After a two-year effort, student, parent, and community advocates have won major reforms to state laws on school discipline.


New Report Focuses on Another Side of the School-to-Prison Pipeline

A Georgetown study highlights the barriers faced by students returning to school after criminal justice system involvement.


Guidance Issued on Use of Seclusion and Restraint in Schools

The U.S. Department of Education has released a resource document that discourages use of these practices in schools.


Reminder: Don't Miss Upcoming Rural School Innovation Webinar!

The fifth in a series of webinars sponsored by The Rural School and Community Trust is June 13 and there is no cost for registration.


Rural Policy Matters: April 2012

Rural Policy Matters: April 2012The April 2012 edition of Rural Policy Matters features stories on the new class of Rural Trust Global Teacher Fellows, on a place-based arts program in Missouri, school finance news updates from Montana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and more.


Reminder: Don't Miss Upcoming Dropout Prevention Webinar!

The first of three dropout prevention webinars sponsored by U.S. Department of Education with assistance from Jobs for the Future is May 3 and registration is very limited.


Community Initiative Supporting Rural Arts Education in the Ozarks

Placeworks, a place-based community initiative, is helping to fill the need for art education in rural schools across the Ozarks region of Missouri.


Gainesville Schools and Community Benefit from Foundation Investment

The Mission-Related Investment Program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks has made it possible for Gainesville School District to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.


Missouri Formula Fight Likely to Produce Mostly Losers, Few Winners

A Missouri statehouse battle over how to deal with a combination of factors negatively impacting school funding has rural districts pitted against suburban and urban schools, and neither side is likely to win.


Ohio Still Seeking Stable, Constitutional Funding Formula

In the fifteen years since the first Ohio State Supreme Court ruling finding the school finance system unconstitutional, there have been at least three attempts to come up with a new formula, and a fourth is set to begin soon.


Montana Rural District Coalition Secures Additional Funding for Schools

The State of Montana has agreed to increase school funding for FY13 by a full inflationary adjustment after being sued for not complying with a law requiring it to do so.


Rural School District Enrollment: Variations across Census Regions

The highest median rural district enrollment by far is in the South, at close to four times that in the West.
Date: April 28, 2012
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Media, Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, Graphs


Children's Defense Fund National Conference: July 22-25, 2012

Make plans now for the 2012 Children's Defense Fund National Conference, set for July 22–25 in  Cincinnati, Ohio.


Why Rural Matters 2011-12: Statistical Indicators of the Condition of Rural Education in the 50 States

WhyRural Matters 2011-12Why Rural Matters 2011–12 is the sixth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.


Why Rural Matters 2011-12 Press Release

Nearly one in four American children attend rural schools and enrollment is growing at a faster rate in rural school districts than in all other places combined, according to Why Rural Matters 2011–12, a biennial report by the Rural School and Community Trust.


Place-Based Learning Offers Opportunities for High-Poverty Rural Schools

Place-based learning is a way for schools struggling with poverty, isolation, or limited resources to expand opportunities for students, improve achievement, and strengthen the community, all at the same time.


Rural Winners of Lenore Annenberg School Fund Grant Delve Into Place-Based Learning

Teachers in two rural elementary schools recently participated in place-based learning workshops that will help engage their students in the local community.


Don't Miss It!

Don’t miss commentary by Marty Strange, Rural Trust Policy Director, in Education Week.


Key Portion of Alabama Immigration Law Upheld

Alabama schools will have to document and report the immigration status of their students...


School Discipline Update: Arkansas Considers Changes to Education Programs in Youth Lockups

Arkansas lawmakers contemplate giving authority for education in juvenile justice centers to local school districts.


Committee Releases Initial Proposals for School Funding in Georgia

A committee to recommend changes to Georgia’s 25-year old school finance system released its initial proposals this month.


Arizona Revisits Consolidation

Arizona legislators consider consolidation options for school districts.


Facts and Figures About States With Low Rural Graduation Rates

Question: In which states are average graduation rates for rural students below the U.S. rate? (Hint: U.S. rural graduation rate is 69.2%.)


Early Childhood Education in Rural Communities

Early Childhood Education in Rural CommunitiesThe Rural Trust's Doris Terry Williams and UNCF's Tammy L. Mann edited this monograph on the current status of early childhood education in rural communities.


Rural School Innovations Webinar: The Niswonger Foundation's Northeast Tennessee College and Career Ready Consortium

The Niswonger Foundation's Northeast Tennessee College and Career Ready Consortium was the focus of the fourth Rural School and Community Trust webinar in the 2010-2011 Rural School Innovations Webinar Series.


Rural Trust Launches Regional Center

The Rural Trust recently announced the launch of the Center for Midwestern Initiatives. The Center will build partnerships, strengthen philanthropic assets for rural schools and communities, and promote place-based education.


Positive New Developments in the Formula Fairness Campaign

Both the All Children are Equal Act and the Formula Fairness Campaign have new co-sponsors.


Fact and Figures About States With High Rural Graduation Rates

Question: Which 10 states have rural graduation rates above 85%?


Rural School Innovations Webinar: The Niswonger Foundation's Northeast Tennessee College and Career Ready Consortium

The fourth webinar in a series on rural school innovations is scheduled for September 21st. Sign up now.


All Children are Equal Act Introduced

The All Children are Equal (ACE) Act was introduced July 12 in the U.S. House of Representatives by 11 original co-sponsors led by Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA).


Every Child in Every Neighborhood

“Every Child in Every Neighborhood” is a video from the Oakland Unified School District that outlines their efforts to transform that school system into a full-service community school district.


The Influence of Teachers: Reflections on Teaching and Leadership

The Influence of Teachers: Reflections on Teaching and LeadershipIn this urgent and insightful book, John Merrow draws on his experience as a reporter for PBS and NPR to examine this question and others, and offer possibilities and solutions for a new education system.


Urban Consolidations Raise Issues Similar to Rural Consolidations

Many urban districts around the nation are proposing school closures, prompted, in part, by school "reform" and turnaround initiatives and by budgetary woes. The issues and community responses bear striking similarity to those in rural areas. 


Case Has Far-Reaching Implications for Religious Freedom and Education

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed an Arizona tax credit for private school scholarships to survive. The rational could make it harder for citizens to challenge government spending on religious activities.  


Save the Date for the 2011 Southeast Regional Rural Summit

Save the date for a regional rural summit.




School Discipline Update: April 2011

New Mexico has just banned corporal punishment in schools and Texas seems poised to do so as well.


Seclusion and Restraint

Several states are taking steps to limit the use of physical seclusion and restraint, especially on students with disabilities.


Rural School Funding News Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

In this series, Rural School Funding News has reviewed general principles of school finance and sharing information about school funding systems that support rural schools and their unique characteristics and needs. While there are no easy answers to questions about how to fund schools, especially in this economic climate, we hope that these articles provide you with information about promising practices, ideas for advocacy, and policy guidelines that inform your analysis and support work on the school finance system in your state.


Arkansas Increases School Funding and Addresses Transportation

In an arrangement with Governor Mike Beebe, the Arkansas legislature increased across-the-board funding for school, while Beebe set aside money for a special fund for districts with high transportation costs.


Arizona Taxpayers Barred from Challenging Tuition Tax Credit Program

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed tax credits to be used for private religious schools in Arizona by denying taxpayers the right to challenge the program in Court.


Rhode Island Lawsuit Will Be Resumed

School districts that had agreed to put their school finance lawsuit on hold have filed an amended complaint after funding levels for schools failed to meet recommended levels.


Rural School Innovations Webinar: The New England Network for Personalization and Performance

The New England Network for Personalization and Performance (NETWORK), created by the Plymouth, Massachusetts School District and the Center for Secondary School Redesign, Inc. (CSSR), was the focus of the third Rural School and Community Trust webinar in the 2010-2011 Rural School Innovations Webinar Series.


Paying Teachers for Performance:
Issues and Dilemmas for Rural Schools, Part One

Recent calls to change the way most teachers are paid have focused on “pay for performance,” that is, paying teachers according to how well they teach. Pay-for-performance criteria have been included in several federal grant programs, and several states have begun collecting data that could be used to implement these programs. But problems arise in defining and measuring good teaching. These problems get thornier in rural schools, where teachers often wear multiple hats, teach several subjects and grades, and work for salaries that are lower than their counterparts in urban and suburban areas.


Rural School Funding News Special Series: Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

In this series, Rural School Funding News is reviewing general principles of school finance and sharing information about school funding systems that support rural schools and their unique characteristics and needs. While there are no easy answers to questions about how to fund schools, especially in this economic climate, we hope that these articles will provide you promising practices, ideas for advocacy, and guidelines that are easily transferable in your analysis and work on your own school finance systems.


Wyoming Backs Off Local Control

The Wyoming legislature passed several measures the will decrease the control local school districts have over spending and teacher evaluations.


Rural Trust Webinar Series Features Rural Innovations: Search Institute: Building Assets-Reducing Risks

The Rural Trust is conducting a series of webinars featuring rural school innovations, including programs that won federal i3 grants and proposed to work in rural communities. The March webinar featured the Search Institute’s BARR program, which builds developmental assets among high school students.


Join Marty Strange in a Kappan Conversation

Rural Trust Policy Director Marty Strange is the featured guest in a Kappan Conversation at 4 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 24. Register by March 22 to take part in this special webinar on "Finding Fairness for Rural Students."


Advanced Placement Incentive Program Grant

The U.S. Department of Education invites applications for the Advanced Placement Incentive program. Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply is April 15, 2011.


Number Weighting in a One-Page Handout

Ever wish you had a simple tool to help you explain how the Title I formulas work and why they provide a lot less money to low-income children in some school districts than others? Now you have it.


Consolidation Fight-Back Toolkit

The documents in this Consolidation Toolkit, prepared by the policy staff of the Rural School and Community Trust, can help you educate your fellow citizens and the policymakers who have the final say in consolidation decisions.


Research Raises Doubts About Benefits of Consolidation

Has the time for consolidation come and gone? Research shows that state policies that broadly push mergers of schools and districts will not save money and will likely lower the quality of education — especially for the poor.


Rural Trust Executive Director Appointed to Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission

Doris Terry Williams, executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust and director of the Trust's Capacity Building Program, has been appointed to the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.


Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation Program

Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation ProgramThis Rural Trust report analyzes the impact of the rural competitive preference in the first round of i3 grants issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The analysis considers whether the rural claim was well-made by the applicants and well-evaluated by the readers. In short, the federal grant program did little to attract authentically rural innovations to address the challenges of high-needs rural schools.


Financing Community Schools: Leveraging Resources to Support Student Success

Financing Community SchoolsCommunity schools are one of the most efficient and effective strategies to improve outcomes for students as well as families and communities. This report from the Coalition for Community Schools details how community schools efficiently leverage dollars to support student learning.


Rural New York School Recruits Overseas Students

Dwindling populations in small towns have caused hundreds of districts to consolidate their schools and bus kids long distances to bigger schools. But some remote communities are fighting back with a new idea to fill their empty classrooms: They're recruiting international students


Facts and Figures About States Where More Than Ten Percent of Rural Students Are Learning English

Question: There are ten states in which more than 10% of rural students are learning English. What are the states?
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: Administrator, Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters, Teacher
Related Tags: English Language Learners (ELL), Facts and Figures


The Rural Factor in the New Republican Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives

The rural vote played a big role in changes in Congress. But not in all the ways it’s been portrayed…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: Administrator, Elected Official/Staff, Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters, What's New
Related Tags: RT Policy Department


Consolidation Watch: State Policies on an Important Rural Issue

Several states are addressing consolidation — but not all are promoting it.


RSFN Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Part IV in the Rural School Funding News (RSFN) special series, "Financing Rural Schools," looks at provisions for small school and/or district size.


The Rural Dropout Problem: An Invisible Achievement Gap

This report reviews high school dropout rates and related factors in rural high schools throughout 15 Southern and Southwestern states. These schools are in districts that are among the 800 rural districts with the highest student poverty rate nationally. Seventy-seven percent of the "Rural 800" districts and 87 percent of the students in them are in these fifteen targeted states.


Rural School Districts Eligible for Federal i3 Grant Application Assistance

Through a new $1.4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust will address provide customized technical assistance for rural school districts seeking i3 grants.
     For more information regarding technical assistance support through the Kellogg grant, please complete this short questionnaire (MSWord document) and return it via email.


Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarships

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Scholars Program supports hundreds of high-achieving students with financial need across the United States...


Rural School and Community Trust Capitol Hill Briefing

Monday, November 16, 2009, 3:00-4:00pm EST, the Rural School and Community Trust will present a Capitol Hill briefing to discuss findings from its recent research report Why Rural Matters 2009.


Why Rural Matters 2009: State and Regional Challenges and Opportunities

Why Rural Matters 2009Why Rural Matters 2009 is the fifth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.


Healthy Rural Schools, Healthy Rural Communities: 2009 REWG Brings Rural Education Activists Together

See photos, download session materials, and get the scoop on the 2009 national Rural Education Working Group meeting, held in April in North Carolina.


Participate in Survey on School Siting

The Institute of Transportation Engineers is sponsoring the development of an informational report regarding the selection and design of school sites for the purpose of safe and efficient transportation.
Date: May 27, 2009
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Parent, Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters, Student, Teacher
Related Tags: Facilities


Wisconsin Considers Funding Changes for Rural Schools

A bill in Wisconsin would help schools with declining enrollment, transportation costs…


Ohio Funding Reform Faces Opposition

Plans to increase the state’s share of school funding face opposition in Ohio…


Facts and Figures About State Education Funding for Rural Districts

Figures from Why Rural Matters reveal a disparity between the percentage of state funds designated for rural communites and the percentage of public schools located in rural places...


REWG 2009 Photo Gallery

Photos from the April 2009 Rural Education Working Group Conference, held at the Kanuga Conference Center near Hendersonville, North Carolina.


Gross Disparity: Some Poor Pennsylvania Students Get Much More Title I Funding Than Others

A recent analysis of Title I funding by the Rural Trust finds that two of the four formulas that are used to provide extra funding for poor students provide much more federal funding per eligible student to some districts than to others with similar or higher poverty rates....


Lack of Sleep Linked to Poorer Academic Performance, Behavior

Rural students with long commutes face a number of documented barriers to school success that put them at significant disadvantage, especially if their families struggle economically or depend exclusively on the bus for school-related transportation.....


Governor Refusing Education Stimulus Funding

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is refusing to use $700 million in federal stimulus funding for schools and other state agencies to avoid budget cuts and layoffs....


Arizona Court Strikes Voucher Program

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld an appellate court decision striking down two private school voucher programs as unconstitutional.....


Obama Administration Files Amicus Brief in Arizona ELL Case

The politics surrounding Arizona’s long-running Flores English-Language Learner (ELL) lawsuit continue to heat up in advance of its hearing before the United States Supreme Court.....


South Dakota Judge Rules Funding Not Unconstitutional

A South Dakota judge has found that the state’s funding system needs improvement but is not unconstitutional.....


Georgia Attorney General Rules School Group Illegal

The organization that brought a school finance lawsuit in Georgia has been declared illegal by the state’s attorney general in an opinion solicited by the governor....


Rural Trust Joins in Friend of the Court Brief in Missouri Lawsuit

The Rural Trust, along with Missouri School Boards Association, Education Justice at the Education Law Center and the National School Board Association have filed a friend of the court brief in the Missouri Supreme Court earlier this year.....


Many Children Left Behind

Many Children Left BehindMany Children Left Behind presents analysis of the distribution of Title I funds in Pennsylvania showing the unintended consequences of these weighting systems. A very few large districts benefit from the weighting systems, but most districts of all sizes with high percentages of eligible students get far less money per eligible student.


Give Every Child More than the Best Seat in the House (Chamber)

Rural Trust President Rachel Tompkins helps put the letter of a South Carolina teen in national perspective...


Poorer Smaller Districts Lose Out in Stimulus

The federal stimulus package provides needed relief to many schools, but it replicates serious inequities for smaller districts with high poverty rates…


RSIN Webinar: What Makes a Good Rural High School, Mar. 18, 2009

What Makes a Good Rural High School was the title of the March 2009 Rural School and Community Trust webinar.


Arkansas Communities Forge Revitalization Process

Three very different rural communities in Arkansas are partnering with the statewide rural education group ACRE to improve the economies, quality of life, and future prospects of their places. Read about what they have discovered is essential to the process…


Bill to Limit School Size in New Mexico

Under legislation introduced in the New Mexico legislature, state funds could not be used for new construction of larger schools and schools could only be consolidated if “consolidation is in the best interest of students served by each of the schools…”


Rural Education Working Group 2009: "Healthy Rural Schools, Healthy Rural Communities"

You are invited to share and learn at the eighth annual Rural Education Working Group meeting of rural activists from across the United States gathered at Kanuga Conference Center in the beautiful North Carolina mountains near Hendersonville, NC, April 19-21, 2009.


Education Funding in the Stimulus: An Overview

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides significant additional funding for public schools. Details are still forthcoming, but we outline the basic funding streams and their requirements…


Alaska Still Denying Rural Students in Struggling Schools

Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason has ruled that the state of Alaska is continuing to deny students in struggling rural schools the education they are guaranteed under the Alaska Constitution.


Arizona ELL Case to Go to U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the long-running Flores lawsuit on appeal from legislative leaders in Arizona and the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne.


Oregon Court Rules State Not Obligated

The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled against a group of families and school districts that brought a finance lawsuit against the state in 2006.


Arguments Heard on Whether South Dakota Districts Can Sue State

The South Dakota Supreme Court has heard arguments on whether school districts can sue the state or finance a lawsuit against the state...


There You Go Again

Lavina Grandon, Policy and Education Director of Arkansas’s Advocates for Community and Rural Education to an editorial, responds to an editorial entitled, “There they go again,” published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; February 10, 2009; page 16 (Editorial section).


A New School Funding Formula Proposed in New Mexico

A new funding formula that was produced by a legislatively funded study committee and its consultants would increase overall state aid by over 15%, according to a Rural School and Community Trust analysis...


Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth

Why Rural Matters 2007Why Rural Matters 2007 is the fourth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency for policymakers in each state to address rural education issues.


The Case for An Office of Rural Education Policy Research in the U.S. Department of Education

The Case for An Office of Rural Education Policy Research in the U.S. Department of Education. Read the proposal and email your comments to info@ruraledu.org


Pennsylvania School Funding Formula Report

Pennsylvania School Funding ReportPennsylvania has enacted substantial changes in its school funding formula, including a factor that adjusts a district's state aid based on estimates of the relative cost of hiring teachers in that particular district compared to the cost of hiring equally qualified teachers in other districts.


About the Rural School Innovation Network

The Rural School and Community Trust invites you to join the Rural School Innovation Network (RSIN). This new initiative is a mutual-aid network for sharing innovations that improve rural education, especially in the poorest rural communities in the United States. As an alliance of rural education and community advocates, the RSIN will collectively work to connect schools with their communities to improve the outcomes for school-aged children and young adults.


An Analysis of the Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts

Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School DistrictsAn Analysis of the Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts, a report of the Rural School and Community Trust and the Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute, presents findings from an investigation of the impact of the funding formula proposal commissioned by the New Mexico Funding Formula Task Force (FFTF) and developed by American Institutes of Research (AIR).


Invitation to Join

An Invitation from the Director


School Discipline: Special Edition

Across the country disturbing patterns are emerging in the ways schools deal with students on disciplinary issues. This special edition of RPM takes an in-depth look at some of these issues with emphasis on how communities can get involved to ensure that all students have the best educational opportunities in school environments that are safe and supportive...


Discipline of Students with Disabilities

Addressing behavior problems in students with disabilities requires knowledge of the law and specific processes...


Disproportionate Discipline: African-American Students in U.S. Schools

African-American students are more likely than other students to be suspended, expelled, or disciplined with corporal punishment. There is no evidence that African-American students have a higher incidence of serious misbehavior than other students. Rather, they receive harsher punishments for more minor and subjective infractions...


Facts and Figures About Rural Students of Color

The total number of rural students of color more than double between 1995-96 and 2004-05.


Finding the Discipline Data

Most schools collect a good bit of data on behavior incidents and disciplinary actions. Learn how to find that data…


Graph: To What Extent Are Parents Involved in School Discipline Issues?

To what extent are parents involved in school discipline issues?


Help Shape the National Rural Education Policy Agenda

Lend your perspective on important policy issues affecting rural schools, students, and communities…


Mississippi Communities Take Responsibility for School Discipline

Citizens in Sunflower County, Mississippi are using policy to take responsibility for what happens to students in their schools…


Improving the Disciplinary Climate: More Options for Communities

A variety of approaches can be useful to communities to help improve the disciplinary climate of their schools…


Positive Behavior Intervention Supports: A School-Wide Approach to Improving Behavior and School Climate

The best way to address school discipline issues is to create an environment where mutual respect is a primary value and students are taught and supported to behave in productive and responsible ways…


Montana Court Denies Relief

Financial problems in rural Montana districts are acknowledged, but the court doesn’t order relief…


The Legal Landscape of School Discipline

Both schools and students have rights and responsibilities when it comes to discipline…


The Other School Violence

Parents have little recourse when their children are treated violently at school, at least in many states…


"Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?" A Review

Many schools and districts across the country have adopted “zero tolerance” policies that impose specific, often severe, penalties on students for behavior infractions. Research suggests these policies may be counter-productive…


RSIN Membership Brochure

The Rural School Innovation Network (RSIN) is a network of schools and school districts striving for excellence in challenging circumstances. The Membership Brochure describes benefits of this program.


Rachel's Notes: December 4, 2008

Thoughts on President-Elect Obama's choice for Secretary of Education, potential goals for the incoming administration, analysis of the election, and the case for an Office of Rural Education Policy Research in the U.S. Department of Education.


Obama and the Rural Vote

Analysis of the presidential vote in rural areas with some thoughts for the president-elect...



Public Policy Principles for Rural Education

The Rural Trust has identified 15 principles to guide its policy work. Each principle is expressed as a contrast between the conditions we seek to achieve in rural public schools and the conditions we seek to avoid. We are publishing one per edition of RPM.


Oklahoma Spending Likely to Go to Statewide Ballot

Voters in Oklahoma will likely vote on whether to force the state to increase spending on education...


Total Title I Funding per Eligible Child, 2008-09 School Year

Rural students receive, on average, less funding per eligible student through the federal Title I program, which is intended to provide additional educational support for very low-income and seriously at-risk students.


Arizona Court to Hear Voucher Appeal

The long fight over vouchers continues in Arizona...
Date: December 03, 2008
Related Categories: Administrator, Elected Official/Staff, Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Giving with One Hand, Taking Away with the Other

Schools in Pennsylvania now get state funding based, in part, on a "location cost metric" and the results aren't pretty for many rural schools...


State Housing Assistance Programs for Teachers: A Sampler

Several states provide some kind of assistance to teachers as a recruitment incentive for hard-to-staff schools. We provide information about some of those programs.


Maine's Struggle with Consolidation Law Continues

The Maine Coalition to Save Schools filed a citizen initiated petition to repeal the state's school consolidation law in October...


A Win for Everyone: Arkansas's Teacher Housing Incentives

Recruiting teachers is no small challenge for many rural schools especially those in communities where many people struggle economically...


2008 State Election Update: A Sampler

Several states had education issues on the ballot. We take a look at some of them...


2008 Federal Election Outcomes

The composition of some congressional committees dealing with education will change...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: All States, Education Policy and Activism


2009 REWG: Make Your Plans

The North Carolina state Rural Education Working Group is hosting the 8th annual REWG meeting in April. Members describe why the meeting is important to them...


Rachel's Notes: October 22, 2008

The Forum for Education and Democracy hosted another briefing on Capital Hill last week that was first rate. The topic "Assessments for Learning: A Briefing on Performance-Based Assessments" is close to our hearts here at the Rural Trust.



RSIN Webinar: School Consolidation, October 22, 2008

School Consolidation was the topic of the October 2009 Rural School Innovation Network webinar. Across the nation, states are considering arguments for and against school closures.


Missouri's Ozarks Schools Suffer Funding Disparity

Rural schools in the mountains of Missouri have less money per student than other schools in the state...


Student Loan Forgiveness Options for Teachers and Schools

Federal student loan forgiveness programs can help schools, especially low-income schools, recruit teachers...


Rural School Funding News: Georgia Case Withdrawn

Georgia case likely to be re-filed...


Homelessness in Rural Oregon

Homelessness rising faster in rural communities than cities...


State Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers, A Sampler

Many states offer programs to increase the number of teachers...


Structuring Schools So Students Succeed: Rural Perspectives

Putting a rural perspective on research about school re-structuring...


Rachel's Notes: October 9, 2008

In recent months, the outline of a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act has begun to take shape. It will not be called No Child Left Behind and will likely go further in actually helping children learn.



Review: Meeting the Challenge of Rural Pre-K

If your district is one of the many rural districts attempting to implement a preschool program, you are probably familiar with some of the challenges.


Working Together to Stay Small, Get More Efficient

Can the operating costs of small schools be reduced — not by making them big through consolidation — but by inter-local cooperation among small schools and districts? The Western Maine Educational Collaborative (WMEC) says so, and it’s proving it.


Indian Education

Only about 1.3 percent of U.S. public school children are American Indians, but these 624,000 students are significant parts of the student population in Alaska (26%), Oklahoma (18%), Montana (11%), New Mexico (11%) and South Dakota (11%).


Rural Teacher Salaries: Big Threat to Teacher Quality

Rural teachers are paid less than suburban and urban teachers. This is true almost everywhere. It’s true at all levels of teaching experience and teacher education. And it’s an especially serious problem in lower-wealth rural districts...


Rural School Funding News: South Carolina Rural Schools Have Their Day in Court

In a dramatic and at times heated exchange, South Carolina Supreme Court justices assured lawyers for plaintiff districts that they recognize the severe discrepancies in the quality of education in poor and rural schools in the state....


Review: “Democracy at Risk: The Need for a New Federal Policy in Education,” The Forum for Education and Democracy, April 2008

The relatively low international ranking of U.S. educational achievement and attainment is the stuff of numerous reports...


Some Lessons from the Rural Experience in School Finance Reform

History provides some important insights about what makes funding systems work for rural schools...


RSIN Webinar: Engaging Communities to Help Every Child Succeed, May 29, 2008

Learn how local groups have engaged large numbers of citizens and organizations and partnered with schools to institute strong, in-school and out-of-school programs to ensure the success of every child.


From Talk to Action: Warren County's Community Action Plan

From Talk to ActionFrom Talk to Action is a report on Warren County, North Carolina's action plan to ensure that all of its children and youth succeed and thrive.


Review: "Additional Learning Opportunities in Rural Communities: Needs, Successes, and Challenges"

Roy Forbes' report, “Additional Learning Opportunities in Rural Communities: Needs, Successes, and Challenges,” adds another important voice to the call for equitable resources for rural schools and their students, especially their low-income students...


State Test Scores in Kentucky Reflect Socio-Economic Status

An analysis of district level scores on Kentucky's state standardized tests produces results different from a straight ranking, and offers important insight for how low-wealth rural districts can improve...


RSIN Quarterly: Case Studies of Successful Practices

Noble High School RSIN Case StudyIn the fall of 2001, in North Berwick, ME, Noble High School students moved into a state-of-the art school facility designed by educators and community members to be a community center for the three rural towns it serves.


RSIN Webinar: Student Engagement and Revitalizing Communities through Place Based Learning, April 29, 2008

Review strategies and successful examples for engaging disenfranchised students through Place-Based Learning and how your community can institute changes for revitalization activities.


State Updates: South Dakota

South Dakota education updates including teacher salaries, consolidation, scholarships, and more...


Education Clauses in State Constitutions

Every state has a portion of its constitution that describes the state's responsibility to provide for public education. This language is called the state's 'education clause.'


Rural School Funding News: New Education Clause Proposed in South Carolina

The ongoing effort to improve educational opportunity for all students in the state is taking a new direction in South Carolina....


RSIN Webinar: Title I Funding Formula Issues Affecting Rural Districts, March 26, 2008

Review of the current formula and its bias against small districts.


Rachel's Notes: February 20, 2008

President of the Rural School and Community Trust, Rachel Tompkins posts her musings for your consideration, push back and feedback every couple of weeks.


The Rural Perspective: An Analysis of the Proposed Department of Education's Budget and How It Will Impact Rural America for FY 2008

In partnership with AASA, NEA, and NAFIS, we provide an overview of how the President's proposed budget will affect rural schools and communities.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Gauge and Indicator Results

Gauge and Indicator Results from Why Rural Matters 2007, including six focus areas: Importance, Socioeconomic Challenges, Student Diversity, Policy Context, Outcomes, and Rural Education Priority.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Major Findings

Major findings from Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Press Room

Media links and information for Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Print Edition

Why Rural Matters 2007: Print EditionWhy Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth is a snapshot of rural education that provides essential information on the condition of rural education in the 50 states and uncovers new trends and challenges facing rural educators.


Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Most Overlooked Rural Communities

Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Rural Communities"Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Most Overlooked Rural Communities describes the challenges facing low-wealth rural school districts in eastern North Carolina as they relate to issues of teacher quality and summarizes the rural-specific strategies going on around the country to respond to these challenges. The report also covers how North Carolina is doing in each strategy, and provides additional recommendations based on the specific circumstances in North Carolina that would help address the pressing issue of providing all children in North Carolina the teachers they deserve. "


Title I Weighted Grants Skewed Toward Largest Districts: Per Pupil Funding Varies Sharply by District Size

Title I Weighted GrantsSince 2002, some of the federal funds provided to local school districts under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have been distributed through weighted grant formulas intended to better target funding to districts with the highest concentrations of poverty. While a worthy goal, these formulas actually skew funds toward larger districts and place a greater value on the education of a Title I student in a large district than on the education of a Title I student in a smaller district — even when these districts have the same poverty rate.


Riding to School in Slow Motion

Riding to School in Slow MotionStudents who attend consolidated rural high schools face longer bus rides and are less likely to participate in extra-curricular activities because of the challenge of transportation. This is one finding in Slow Motion: Traveling by School Bus in Consolidated Districts in West Virginia. Survey results show that high school students who ride the bus and attend consolidated high schools lose an average of 49 minutes each day, compared to students who have other forms of transportation in those same districts. Though the report focuses specifically on consolidation outcomes in West Virginia, the lessons learned are a warning to any state that has pursued or is considering pursuing consolidation as an education policy.


Rural Advocate Uncovers Privatization Ploy

James Holloway, a member of the South Carolina Rural Education Grassroots Group, was initially interested in what an organization called Clergy for Educational Options said they were offering his rural community. But with some investigation he discovered that the group was really pushing private school vouchers using public money. Holloway challenged the group and learned a lot about its operations and its ties to large out-of-state privatization interests....


Rural Advocate Uncovers Privatization Ploy: Online Supplement

More information on the ties between national privatization interests and the organization Clergy for Educational Options (CEO), which is working in rural South Carolina....


Recommendations for Improvements to No Child Left Behind

The Rural Trust recommends an alternative approach to six areas of NCLB in order to take into account the unique circumstances of rural schools and rural students.


The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools

The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public SchoolsWhile numerous studies have documented that small schools effectively boost student achievement, especially among at-risk students, our report, The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools summarizes the vast research literature that explains just why small works in schooling, identifying ten research-based attributes of small schools that are proven to have a positive impact on kids and their learning.


Compounding Challenges: Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Fiscal Resources in Oregon's Rural School Districts

Compounding ChallengesThis report presents findings from an investigation into relationships between academic achievement and the distribution of fiscal resources among rural school districts in Oregon. The investigation was prompted by earlier-reported findings suggesting the critical nature of both achievement gaps and resource gaps among rural school districts in the state. A variety of statistical procedures yielded consistent findings indicating that there is considerable disparity in the distribution of fiscal resources among rural districts, and that the level of fiscal resources available to districts significantly influences educational outcomes.


More Doesn't Mean Better: Larger High Schools and More Courses Do Not Boost Student Achievement in Iowa High Schools

More Doesn't Mean BetterSmall school districts are an "achievement blessing" in Iowa, according to More Doesn't Mean Better. In Iowa, consolidation proponents contend that small schools in small districts cannot offer a sufficiently broad curriculum, and that offering more courses would lead to higher achievement levels. This study finds just the opposite: Bigger schools and broader curriculum do not boost student achievement. In fact, smaller districts with fewer course offerings and higher poverty produced a slightly higher—but not statistically significant—percentage of students who scored "proficient" on state achievement tests than larger districts.


Anything But Research-based: State Initiatives to Consolidate Schools and Districts

The consolidation of schools and school districts is an ongoing issue in most of rural America. Each year hundreds of communities face the closure of their local school or the loss of their local school district-and the school governance positions associated with the district. State policies promoting consolidation have existed for most of the 20th and now 21st centuries. Indeed, the numbers of schools and districts in this country have been drastically reduced, despite burgeoning school populations.


Learning with Public Purpose

Learning with Public Purpose (LPP) is the Rural Trust’s answer to simultaneously improving rural schools and communities. When student learning contributes to the larger public purposes of the community, young people develop the habits of citizenship and service while also deepening their understanding of knowledge in core subjects. The community reaps the benefits of what young people can accomplish when they are engaged, challenged, and valued as citizens of their place.


20 Strategies to Address Declining Enrollment

For those rural schools and communities across the country facing declining student enrollment, there are no easy answers. But there are steps policymakers and communities can take to help cushion the negative impact of declining enrollment on schools to ensure that "no child left behind" also means "no place left behind." 20 Strategies to Address Declining Enrollment details 20 policies that provide students in communities experiencing declining enrollment with a high quality education and also buy time for communities to rebound, improve, or adjust to changes in population and revenue.


Breaking the Fall: Cushioning the Impact of Rural Declining Enrollment

Breaking the FallFor those rural schools and communities across the country facing declining student enrollment, there are no easy answers. But there are steps policymakers and communities can take to help cushion the negative impact of declining enrollment on schools to ensure that "no child left behind" also means "no place left behind." This report details 20 policies that provide students in communities experiencing declining enrollment with a high quality education and also buy time for communities to rebound, improve, or adjust to changes in population and revenue.


Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Financial Resources in Mississippi School Districts

Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Financial Resources in Mississippi School DistrictsThis report suggests that the distribution of both school funding and qualified teachers are primary forces behind Mississippi's achievement gaps. It finds that districts with students facing the most severe challenges to high academic achievement are also the districts that have the most limited resources with which to address those challenges. Conversely, districts with students facing the fewest challenges are also the ones with the most resources.


National Rural Education Association Task Force Reports on School Consolidation

A task force of the National Rural Education Association has prepared a report on school consolidation for the organization's executive board. It presents an excellent summary of the history of the issue and summarizes research on the topic, concluding with a series of recommendations.


Providing Rural Students with a High Quality Education

Providing Rural Students with a High Quality EducationThis report outlines the specifics of what the rural perspective on educational adequacy entails for policymakers, education leaders, and school finance advocates. While the report embraces the thinking behind education adequacy, it urges researchers and school funding reform advocates to begin using the phrase "high quality education," because it more aptly describes quality schooling and it will resonate better with rural people and the broader public.


A Year of Civics in Action: 2004-2005

A Year of Civics in Action: 2004-2005The 2004-2005 report on the progress of the first year of the Rural Civic Engagement Initiative. Includes review of activities in Ohio, South Carolina, Vermont, Wisconsin.


The Impact of Arkansas' Act 60 on African-American School Leadership and Racial Composition of School Districts

The Impact of Arkansas' Act 60This report examines the impact of Arkansas' Act 60 (2004) on the racial composition of the student population, elected school boards, and administrative leadership of 27 districts affected by consolidations involving one or more districts with an African-American majority.


Why Rural Matters 2005: The Facts About Rural Education in the 50 States

Why Rural Matters 2005Why Rural Matters 2005 is the third in a series of reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education.


Why Rural Matters 2005: News Conference Transcript

This transcript of the virtual news conference for Why Rural Matters 2005 features Rachel Tompkins, Ed.D., President, Rural School and Community Trust; Jerry Johnson, Ed.D., State and Regional Policy Studies Manager; and Marty Strange, Director of Policy Programs at the Rural Trust.


Why Rural Matters 2005: Print Edition

Why Rural Matters 2005: Print EditionWhy Rural Matters 2005 is the third in a series of reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education.


The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America

The Role of EducationThis special report issued in partnership with the USDA Economic Research Service and the Rural Trust explores the connections between rural education and local community well-being. The report includes three sections: Education, Human Capital, and the Local Economy; Links between Rural Schools and Communities; and Creating Successful Rural Schools and Students. Each section includes several articles and provides descriptive information, research data, and examples of promising programs.


Good Rural High School Case Study: Sicily Island High School, Sicily Island, Louisiana

Siciliy Island HIgh SchoolThis case study of Siciliy Island High School, Sicily Island, Louisiana using the Good Rural High School assessment rubric developed by the Rural School and Community Trust reveals a rural high school that is yielding results.


Best Fiscal Management Practices for Rural Schools

Best Fiscal Management Practices for Rural SchoolsThis report highlights some of the leading policy issues faced by education stakeholders and presents rural-specific strategies to ensure both sound fiscal management practices and a high quality education for all students. To complement the report, the Rural Trust offers a workshop that can be tailored to both meet the needs of various constituencies and be responsive to context and need.


Making Bricks Without Straw: An Analysis of Achievement Patterns and Fiscal Inequity an Inadequacy in Nebraska School System

Making Bricks without StrawNebraska school systems with the lowest test scores serve more students who face socio-economic barriers to academic achievement than do other Nebraska schools, but have to do it with less money, according to this analysis.


Letters to the Next President: What We Can Do About the Real Crisis in Public Education

Letters to the Next PresidentIn the 2004 publication Letters to the Next President, more than 30 education experts, elected officials, practitioners, students, community leaders, and parents wrote to our next president, offering suggestions on improving critical problems in public education such as equitable funding resources and saving small schools.


Good Rural High School Case Study: Shaw High School, Shaw, Mississippi

Shaw High SchoolThis case study of Shaw High School, Shaw, Mississippi using the Good Rural High School assessment rubric developed by the Rural School and Community Trust provides an exemplar study in rural high school improvement.


Beating the Odds: High Performing, Small High Schools in the Rural South

Beating the OddsThis policy paper offers insights and policy recommendations from studying high-poverty, but also high-performing, rural, southern schools that will change perceptions of what is possible in small, low-wealth rural settings. The report focuses on findings from five rural schools in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi and on the characteristics that the five schools shared. Among many others, each school: displayed a sense of mutual respect and shared expectation; viewed smallness as an asset; had positive, flexible and collegial leadership; and, their environments brought out — and expected — the best of everyone. The report was prepared for the Southern Rural High School Study Initiative, a joint venture of the Southern Governors' Association, Southern Regional Education Board, and The Rural Trust.


Rural Equity Collaborative Fights for Rural Kids in Four States

Four state organizations and the Rural School and Community Trust are entering the third year of a partnership that is making a difference for rural kids in Mississippi, Nebraska, Vermont, and West Virginia.


National Study Links Small Schools and Higher Achievement

A major study by rural education researchers Craig and Aimee Howley addresses the vexing problem of how individual students of various income levels fare in larger and smaller schools nationwide. It is the strongest evidence to date that small schools are better for low income children.


Good Rural High Schools: Principles and Standards

Principles and StandardsPrinciples and standards for good high schools developed by the Rural School and Community Trust.


Achievement Distributions and Fiscal Inequalities in New Mexico Public Schools

Achievement Distributions and Fiscal Inequalities in New Mexico Public SchoolsThis report shows that New Mexico school systems suffering from low student achievement serve students who face the greatest social and economic barriers, but receive less money to work with than do other New Mexico districts.


The Devil Is in the Details: Rural-Sensitive Best Practices for Accountability Under No Child Left Behind

Rural-Sensitive Best Practices for Accountability Under NCLBStates have some flexibility in how they implement the specific provisions of the federal "No Child Left Behind" Act. The way states write their implementation plans can make all the difference to rural schools and the kids who attend them. In this new report, Rural Trust policy analyst Lorna Jimerson evaluates how 15 different states are implementing NCLB, and highlights the most "rural sensitive" practices.


They Remember What They Touch: The Impact of Place-Based Learning in East Feliciana Parish

They Remember What They TouchContrary to its Spanish name, East Feliciana has never been a "happy land" for public education. Located in southeastern Louisiana, East Feliciana Parish School District was carved out as a result of consolidations, closures, mergers and chronic poor school performance. The district serves approximately 3,000 students, 2,400 of them in grades K-8. In a parish where African-Americans comprise only 47.1% of the population, they represent more than 80% of the public school students; most, 84.8%, qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.


Small Works in Nebraska: How Poverty and the Size of School Systems Affect School Performance in Nebraska

Small Works in NebraskaAs Nebraska considers a proposal to consolidate many of its small rural schools, this study finds compelling evidence that academic achievement is higher in the state's smaller schools—particularly for students who live in poorer communities. The study by Jerry Johnson, policy analyst for the Rural Trust, explores the relationships among school size, poverty, and student achievement in Nebraska and finds that smaller schools significantly reduce the power of poverty to affect student academic performance.


School Size: Research Based Conclusions

School size is a critical factor in determining educational outcomes. Research links small school size with higher levels of achievement and cost effectiveness. Small size also makes other school improvements more effective. But the advantages of small schools can be undermined if they are under funded or forced to organize and operate the way larger schools do. Here is what researchers have found about school size.


Land for Granted: The Effects of Acreage Policies on Rural Schools and Communities

Land for GrantedIn many states, receiving state aid to build a new school — or renovate an existing one — is contingent on compliance with state policies that state the minimum acreage necessary for a particular type of school. This report finds that these minimum acreage requirements — imposed in 23 states — often create special problems for rural school districts. The report also explains the kinds of policies in effect in various states and outlines their impacts on small and rural school districts.


2003 State Distance Learning Policy Study: A Non-Interpretive Analysis

2003 State Distance Learning Policy StudyThis research report (from the Rural Trust in conjunction with the State Technology Directors Association), details the extent and type of distance learning technologies currently in use across the U.S. and the role of state education agencies in the creation of distance learning policies, rules, and regulations.


Gallup Goes to School: The Importance of Confidence Intervals for Evaluating "Adequate Yearly Progress" in Small Schools

Gallup Goes to Schoolwww.ruraledu.org/articles.phpThis report finds that states should use statistical confidence intervals to interpret test scores as a measure of "adequate yearly progress" for small schools under the No Child Left Behind Act.


School District Consolidation in Arkansas

School District Consolidation in ArkansasIn response to an Arkansas Supreme Court order to alter the state's school funding system, Governor Mike Huckabee and others have proposed consolidating many small school districts. This report analyzes financial and academic data of all Arkansas districts and evaluates several approaches to district consolidation.


The Re-Invention of Regional Service Co-ops in Arkansas

The following is intended to be a thought-provoking, but non-prescriptive, look at the future of Regional Education Service Cooperatives in Arkansas. The decisions reached, however, must be made with the full and equal involvement of the existing co-ops, the districts they serve, and the Arkansas Department of Education.


Rural School Leadership in the Deep South: A Framework for Professional Development

A Framework for Professional DevelopmentThis is the second in a two-part series intended to give public voice to school leaders in the South. The report comes from discussions of the Rural School Leaders Working Group, a group of 20 principals, superintendents and instructional supervisors from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, who met to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities for school leadership. This report outline the features of a practitioner-led, research oriented professional development plan for the participating leaders to strengthen their capacity to meet the critical challenges and opportunities of rural school leadership. The report is available for free as a PDF from the Rural Trust.


Alternative Ways to Achieve Cost Effective Schools

There are legitimate concerns about the administrative costs of running small school districts. It has been widely assumed that the only way to reduce these costs is to achieve economies of scale by eliminating school districts through consolidation. Proposals to consolidate districts often include assurances that closing districts does not mean that schools have to close. The idea is that we can reduce administrative costs without losing the educational benefits of small schools.


The Fiscal Impacts of School Consolidation: Research Based Conclusions

Consolidation proponents often argue that consolidating schools and/or districts will lower per pupil costs. But a stream of studies over half a century casts doubts on this assumption.


Save a Penny, Lose a School: The Real Cost of Deferred Maintenance

This policy brief describes the problem of deferred maintenance for school facilities, especially from the perspective of small rural districts. It examines the extent, causes, and consequences of deferred maintenance as well as recommendations for policy, practice, and funding that can help correct this national problem.


Why Rural Matters 2003: The Continuing Need for Every State to Take Action on Rural Education

Why Rural  Matters 2003This is the second analysis by the Rural Trust of data on education in rural America from a wide variety of sources. The report's conclusion: specific policy attention to rural school needs is critically needed in many states.


Distance Learning Technologies: Giving Small Schools Big Capabilities

In school and district consolidation, the well-documented benefits of small schools to students and their communities are lost. It doesn't have to be this way. Other alternatives, such as distance learning, are both possible and preferable. Distance learning can provide students access to a virtually unlimited curriculum while retaining the benefits of small, local schools. But distance learning can be done well, or badly. Here, too, there are choices.


Closing Costs: A Summary of an Award Winning Look at School Consolidation in West Virginia, a State Where It Has Been Tried Aggressively

Few states have pursued consolidation of rural schools more aggressively than West Virginia. With the promise of broader curriculum and huge tax savings, the state has closed more than 300 schools, one in every five, since 1990. In 2002, the Charleston Gazette investigated the outcomes of the state's consolidation efforts in the series, "Closing Costs."


Rural School Leadership in the Deep South: The Double-Edged Legacy of School Desegregation

The Double-Edged Legacy of School DesegregationThis is the first in a two-part series intended to give public voice to school leaders in the South. The report comes from discussions of the Rural School Leaders Working Group, a group of 20 principals, superintendents and instructional supervisors from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, who met to discuss the issues, challenges, and opportunities for school leadership. The report outlines what participants considered the most important topic areas for their personal learning and professional development, and what they indicated they need to lead school districts to greater student achievement and overall performance. The report is available for free as a PDF from the Rural Trust.


Lowering the Overhead by Raising the Roof ...and other Rural Trust strategies to reduce the costs of your small school

Lowering the OverheadLowering the Overhead by Raising the Roof provides strategies to help communities reduce the costs of maintaining, building, and renovating small schools, author Barbara Lawrence reports on specific strategies that rural communities have used and shares what she has learned from people throughout the country.


Small Works in Arkansas: How Poverty and the Size of Schools and School Districts Affect School Performance in Arkansas

Small_Works_In_Arkan.pdfA series of studies in seven states (Alaska, California, Georgia, Montana, Ohio, Texas, and West Virginia) indicates that smaller schools reduce the harmful effects of poverty on student achievement and help students from less affluent communities narrow the academic achievement gap between them and students from wealthier communities. The implication is that the less affluent a community, the smaller the school and school district serving that community should be in order to maximize student achievement. The present study conducted by Ohio University researchers extends this analysis to Arkansas. The findings are remarkably consistent with those from the other states.


Still "A Reasonably Equal Share": Update on Educational Equity in Vermont

This report updates the 2001 study on the impact of Vermont's Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1997 (Act 60) using the latest available data to examine the degree to which Act 60 has improved on the three main equity goals established by the state's Supreme Court and Legislature: Student Resource Equity, Tax Burden Equity and Academic Achievement Equity. The report concludes that Act 60 continues to fulfill these mandates.


Where Has All the "Rural" Gone?

This piece indicated the need for increased rural education research, particularly research with federal backing and monitoring. Sherwood points to the flaws in the education funding system that are making the rural education researcher an "endangered species" and provides suggestions for the federal government, rural organizations, and community members to change the course of research before it is too late.


A Reasonably Equal Share: Educational Equity in Vermont

This report finds that Vermont's Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1997 (Act 60) has significantly improved educational equity in the state and has achieved three main goals established by the state's Supreme Court and the Legislature: student resource equity, tax burden equity, and academic achievement equity. The findings suggest that Vermont is on the right course in the way it funds its schools.


Assessing Student Work

Assessing Student WorkAn update of the earlier Assessment Monograph, this report discusses the limitations of standardized testing in evaluating student progress and offers alternative methods to assess project and place-based student work.


Small Schools: Why They Provide the Best Education for Low-Income Children

Small SchoolsThis report crystalizes the research of Dr. Craig Howley focusing on West Virginia.


School Consolidation and Transportation Policy: An Empirical and Institutional Analysis

School Consolidation and Transportation PolicyOffering new empirical and theoretical insights into school and district consolidation across the country, this study traces actual transportation costs across states and the relationship between transportation and instructional costs. They posit that the consolidation and transportation issues are linked and that together they have constrained instructional opportunities for rural children.


Standards in Public Schools: A Policy Statement of the Rural School and Community Trust

http://www.ruraledu.org/articles.php?id=2087This document articulates the Rural Trust's views on academic standards, with particular emphasis on the role of community input in setting and maintaining standards. Ann C. Lewis, columnist for KAPPAN magazine, called this policy statement "one of the finest philosophical documents to come out of the standards movement."


Parent Participation, School Accountability & Rural Education: The Impact of KERA on Kentucky School Facilities Policy

This report discusses particular forms of parent involvement and democratic empowerment now partially restored in the state of Kentucky which have become engendered as a result of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act (KERA) of 1990, a landmark attempt to reduce inequity statewide.


Small Schools, Big Results: Nebraska High School Completion and Postsecondary Enrollment Rates by Size of School District

Small Schools, Big ResultsThis research, funded in part by the Rural Trust, finds that small schools measure up very well against their big neighbors when the cost of schooling is measured as the cost per graduate.


A Message for the 'War Room'

Anne C. Lewis, columnist for KAPPAN, discusses the standards movement and the Rural School and Community Trust (formerly the Rural Challenge) standards policy statement.


Public School Standards: Discussing the Case for Community Control

Public School Standards: Discussing the Case for Community ControlFrom November 1998 through February 1999, the Rural Trust's Policy Program hosted an online discussion of public school standards. They reflect the thoughts of several hundred parents, educators, policymakers, and interested individuals from 45 states and three countries who weighed in on the standards issue as it affects rural communities. The proceedings of this lively debate are available online.


Our Challenge: To Set the Highest Possible National Standard — for Human Relationships

From November of 1998 through February of 1999, the Rural Challenge hosted an online conversation to raise the issue of community input in the standards movement that is sweeping the country. A highlight of the event was a January 13th video conference involving over 200 participants in seven sites around the U.S. with hundreds of others following the conversation from their computers. This is the transcript the keynote address given by Debra Meier.


Our Challenge: To Set the Highest Possible National Standard -- for Human Relationships

From November of 1998 through February of 1999, the Rural Challenge hosted an online conversation to raise the issue of community input in the standards movement that is sweeping the country. A highlight of the event was a January 13th video conference involving over 200 participants in seven sites around the U.S. with hundreds of others following the conversation from their computers. This is the transcript of the keynote address given by Debra Meier.


Standing Up for Community and School

This reports tells the stories of seven individuals living in rural communities and their personal struggles with public policies around schooling. The booklet also includes a "What I Can Do" section with contact information for legislative hotlines and Departments of Education across the country.


School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance

Excerpted from Kathleen Cotton, School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance (Portland, OR: NWREL), 1996, pp 10-11, a comprehensive review of formal research studies on school size.