State/Region


Why Rural Matters 2013-14 Released

The Rural Trust releases Why Rural Matters 2013–14.


Resistance Mounting to North Carolina's Education "Reforms"

Resistance is growing to recent changes to education policy in North Carolina, including lawsuits against the elimination of tenure protections and state support for private school vouchers.


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.


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.


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.


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%.)


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.


Save the Date for the 2011 Southeast Regional Rural Summit

Save the date for a regional rural summit.


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.


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.


Same Old Consolidation Claims at Issue in Maine Vote

Mandatory district consolidation — for rural small districts — is shifting education costs to rural towns and breaking down Maine's traditions of self-governance. Next month voters will decide whether to reject the law that is forcing the dissolution of many of the state's school districts. Supporters of self-governance are urging citizens to reject a law they say is unfair, badly conceived, and unable to improve education: consolidation advocates, however, are making a variety of claims about "the facts…"


Rural North Carolinians Raise Essential Issues with Secretary Duncan

Members of the North Carolina Rural Education Working Group put some tough questions to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about education in rural areas…


Race to Where?

Policy Program Director Marty Strange takes an incisive look at some of the issues in the charter guidelines for Race to the Top funding — and describes an interesting alternative


Bus Rides at Issue in Arkansas Legal Appeal

Parents and students in an isolated rural community are claiming that their constitutional rights to an adequate and equitable education are violated by long bus rides since the local school was closed…
Date: September 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Consolidation, Education Policy and Activism, Small Schools/School Size


New Name, Expanded Mission for Arkansas's ACRE

A venerable rural education advocacy group is expanding its mission and working to claim a better future with more opportunities for all of rural Arkansas…


Missouri Court Says Education Not a Fundamental Right

Missouri students are not entitled to equal funding because education is not a fundamental right and the state is meeting its constitutional spending requirement for education…
Date: September 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas May Take Up School Consolidation

Some Kansas legislators are looking at consolidation as a way to reduce spending…


Ohio Gets New School Finance System

Ohio gets a new funding formula, despite current budget situation…
Date: August 20, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural South Dakota Schools Win Major Victory

South Dakota districts will be allowed to participate in school finance lawsuit…
Date: August 20, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural Students Less Likely to Aspire to or Attend College

Blurb: Rural students are, on average, less likely to aspire to college, less likely to attend, and less likely to earn a degree than their urban and suburban counterparts. There are several explanations and things schools can do…


Facts and Figures About Education Funding for Rural Districts: States With Least Inequality

Question: Which five states have the least inequality in per pupil school funding among rural districts?
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: State/Region
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


Rural Parents in Arkansas Sue Over Consolidation

Parents of elementary and secondary students at Fourche Valley School in Arkansas are asking a circuit court judge to block the consolidation of their school....
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Consolidation, Small Schools/School Size


Indiana Funding Declining and Unlikely to Improve

Budget cuts and a court ruling mean poor schools won’t see funding increases soon…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Georgia Cutting Funding for Low Wealth Districts

Georgia reduces state funds that help make up for funding disparities in low wealth districts…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Cuts and Consolidation on Table in Pennsylvania Budget

Pennsylvania’s budget battles have put public school districts under threat of consolidation and drawn the attention of the U.S. Department of Education…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


ELL Funding in Arizona

Arizona is not violating the Equal Educational Opportunity Act in the way it funds programs for English Language Learners, but a lower court must review…


Washington State Enacts Reforms During Recession

Washington State takes the unusual action of cutting education spending AND implementing a new reform program that will increase spending…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Percentage of Rural People Aged 5 and Older Who Speak English "Less Than Very Well"

A regional analysis of the percentages of people in rural areas who speak English "less than very well"…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: English Language Learners (ELL), Graphs


Rural North Carolinians Get Involved in State Budget Process

In a state with one of the worst deficits in the country, rural advocates are working to protect educational opportunities for rural students….
Date: June 27, 2009
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Deep Cuts Go Deepest in Poorest Rural Places

Legislative fight in Washington State reveals unique challenges facing rural schools in the worst recession in decades….
Date: June 26, 2009
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Facts and Figures About State Education Funding Inequality for Rural Districts

Figures from Why Rural Matters 2007 describe five states that have the most inequality in combined state and local revenue per pupil among rural districts....
Date: June 25, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


Rural South Carolina Middle School Gets Donation of Furniture

The rural middle school referenced in President Obama’s address to Congress gets a donation of school furniture….


South Carolina Court Orders Gov. Sanford to Let His People Go

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered Governor Mark Sanford to apply for federal stimulus money Sanford had insisted on not accepting because the federal government required it be used to help offset state budget cuts affecting schools and other public services.
Date: June 08, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Rural-Urban Funding Gap Grows in Nebraska

Funding gap between rural small districts and urban large districts widens in Nebraska…


Wisconsin Considers Funding Changes for Rural Schools

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


Missouri Arguments Heard

Rural Missouri districts appeal school funding lawsuit decision…


Ohio Funding Reform Faces Opposition

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


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....


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.


South Carolina Changes Rules to Accommodate Shortfall

Facing severe cuts to education spending, South Carolina changes spending and employment guidelines for districts…


Wisconsin Network Proposes New Funding Plan

Wisconsin group proposes comprehensive new funding plan for schools...


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.


Maine Consolidation Fight Twists Again

Maine’s forced school district consolidation process continues down its rocky road.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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).


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.


Obama and the Rural Vote

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



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...


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


RSFN-Extras: Colorado Funding Issues to Go Before High Court

The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on appeal in the Lobato school funding case...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


RSFN-Extras: New Hampshire Funding Lawsuit Dismissed

The state Supreme Court has said that New Hampshire is doing enough to meet its constitutional obligations and dismissed the 17-year-old Londonderry school funding case...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Infusing Heritage and Connectedness in Academic Support in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a committed community group is making a difference for young people and the whole community...


Home Ownership is a Wonderful Thing: Teachers Share Their Experiences with the Arkansas Teacher Housing Assistance Program

RPM talks to four teachers who have participated in Arkansas's unique program to assist teachers in high-priority school districts with housing expenses...


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.


Rural School Funding News: New Mexico Group Advocates Smaller Schools

Policy group advocates limiting school size...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School/District Size


Rural School Funding News: Minnesota Districts Seeking Local Funding

Rural Minnesotans vote on school funding initiatives...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region, Teacher
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues


Rural School Funding News: Wide-Ranging Developments in Arizona

Developments in Arizona could mean major policy changes for rural schools...


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...


Economic Bailout Renews Secure Rural Schools Act

Schools in so-called forest counties will get four more years of federal funding...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


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...


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...


Facts and Figures on Rural Adults Who Hold High School Diplomas

Question: In what 11 states do fewer than 80% of rural adults hold high school or equivalency (GED) diplomas?
Date: October 10, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Facts and Figures


Wyoming Attracts Montana Teachers

Montana is losing teachers to Wyoming...


New Mexico Adopts Navajo Language Textbook

Many New Mexico students will learn Navajo at school...


Rural School Funding News: Georgia Case Withdrawn

Georgia case likely to be re-filed...


Tough Economic Times Make for Tough Decisions in Arkansas

Arkansas weighing key components of school funding...


South Dakota Lawsuit Highlights Rural Issues

South Dakota case highlights complexities for poorly-funded but high-achieving rural schools...


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...


State Education Cuts Fall Harder on Rural Districts: A Kentucky Example

Across the country many lower-wealth rural schools are absorbing a disproportionate share of state funding cuts and feeling the downside of a commonly-used state funding mechanism intended to help them.


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 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....


New Mexico Devises Strong Funding Formula: An Analysis

A New Mexico school funding formula that was produced by a legislatively funded study committee and its consultants would increase overall state aid to schools by over 15% and, according to a new Rural School and Community Trust analysis, send the biggest increases to smaller districts serving the poorest, most rural, communities, those with large percentages of Hispanic and Native American students, and those with high proportions of English Language Learners...


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.


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...


State Updates: South Dakota

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


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....


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. "


Connecting School and Community in Northeastern North Carolina

The Rural School and Community Trust is working in North Carolina to build the capacity of grassroots leaders and community-based organizations to engage in local school reform in vulnerable rural communities, build strong out-of-school supports for student learning, and establish a network of rural activists who will develop and advocate for policies and practices to improve education for students throughout the state.


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....


An Investigation of School Closures Resulting from Forced District Reorganization in Arkansas

An Investigation of School Closures Resulting from Forced District Reorganization in ArkansasSome policymakers and other advocates of reorganizing Arkansas' public education system have insisted that the minimum district size requirements included in Act 60 and the district closings authorized under the Omnibus Education Act are aimed at closing school districts only, for the sake of "administrative" efficiency. They argue that the forced reorganization of districts is not intended to close schools. Some tease the issue a bit, adding that at the very least it doesn't have to happen, and in their view, probably will not happen. This analysis of the ways that reorganization has played out over the past two years strongly suggests otherwise.


North Dakota Funding Lawsuit on Hold

Nine school districts in North Dakota have agreed to stay a school funding lawsuit pending the outcome of the next legislative session...
Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


North Carolina Judge Demands State Action on "Failing" High Schools

The judge presiding over the North Carolina school finance lawsuit known as Leandro has written a letter to state education officials demanding that high schools with records of poor test scores be given new leadership and be restructured or closed if scores don't improve by the end of the 2005-06 school year.
Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News


Arizona Increases Funding for English Language Learner Programs

An Arizona bill that will increase funding for programs for English Language Learners (ELL) awaits federal district court review before becoming law...


Nebraska Legislature Active as Rural Education Advocates Work

Nebraska's unicameral (one house) legislature has proposed a flurry of bills related to school finance since the Nebraska Coalition for Educational Equity and Adequacy (NCEEA) filed a school finance adequacy case in 2004...

Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural Texas

Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural TexasThis report reveals a number of areas of significant deficiencies as it examines the characteristics of the teaching environment and the teacher corps in rural Texas schools--where almost half a million students go to school each day.


Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural New Mexico

Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural New MexicoThis report identifies 10 areas that present potential challenges for rural schools and the diverse populations in rural schools in New Mexico: 1. Challenges Related to Demographics; 2. Student Discipline Concerns; 3. Teacher Qualifications; 4. Ethnicity of Educators Compared to Students; 5. Principals' Salary; 6. Staffing Patterns; 7. Class Size; 8. Teacher Shortages and Unfilled Vacancies; 9. Professional Development and Perceived Usefulness; and 10. Incentives for Professional Development.


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.


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.


The Star with My Name: The Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the Impact of Place-Based Education on Native Student Achievement

The Star With My NameThis white paper from the Rural Trust's capacity building program shows how place-based learning has led to favorable academic outcomes for students in rural Alaska. "The Star With My Name" recounts the methods and successes of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative using place-based learning with Alaska Native students in the state's small rural schools.


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.


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.


Engaged Institutions: Impacting Vulnerable Youth Through Place-Based Learning

Engaged InstitutionsWith funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rural Trust sponsored several researchers to develop case studies examining the connections between higher education institutions and vulnerable youth in communities that have chosen place-based education as a framework for student learning and community growth. The report explores the development of rural Education Renewal Zones in Missouri, an aquaculture project in northeastern Maine that is helping revitalize a small town's fishing economy, and a project in New Mexico focused on water use and conservation through using an "acequia" irrigation system. Engaged Institutions also features in-depth studies on other place-based learning partnerships including initiatives to preserve Navajo culture in Indian schools in Arizona, unique media arts projects in Appalachia, and a project aimed at improving writing skills using local culture in the Mississippi Delta.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.