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Leveraging Change: Increasing Access to Arts Education in Rural Areas

Leveraging Change: Increasing Access to Arts Education in Rural AreasLeveraging Change: Increasing Access to Arts Education in Rural Areas reports that promising practices and opportunities for expanding access to arts education include implementing placemaking strategies, creating collaborative rural networks, and using technology to span geographic divides. 


New "Why Rural Matters" Report Now Available

Why Rural Matters 2015-16The new edition of Why Rural Matters, from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rural School and Community Trust, provides an overall "priority" ranking of the 50 states, showing the greatest needs in rural education.


Why Rural Matters 2015-2016 Capitol Hill briefing to be held April 3, 2017

Why Rural Matters 2015-2016 is the eighth 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.


Edgecombe County, NC: Bringing Educators and Leaders Together to Discuss Community Impact

In Edgecombe County, North Carolina, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Educational Equity, had its first town hall-style meeting in February. The Commission is comprised of educators, local board of education members, faith-based leaders, parents, students, and policymakers.


Rural public schools worry they will be left behind

 With a new administration in the White House that prefers  "school-choice” approaches — favoring charter schools and private-school vouchers so parents can opt out of public schools and bring taxpayer dollars with them — the nation’s rural schools are left to wonder about their fate.


Investing in Innovation (i3) Rural Grantee Webinar set for June 22, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) Program recently announced a June 22 webinar with two i3 grantees working to improve achievement in rural high schools.


Application Deadline for 2016 Global Teacher Fellowship Program Extended to February 12

The Rural Trust is pleased to announce that applications for the 2016 Global Teacher Fellowship Program are now open!  The application deadline has been extended to February 12, 2016.


Student Literacy Blossoms at Rural Schools' Summer Learning Labs

Literacy learning labs, held this summer in 21 rural schools in five states, gave students a safe space to read and write and gave teachers a chance to collaborate and try new strategies.


Read for Success Report Addresses Summer Learning Loss in Poor and Rural Communities

In May 2015, Reading is Fundamental (RIF) released the report entitled, Read for Success: Combating the Summer Learning Slide. The study was designed by RIF to determine how schools and communities in the poorest and/or most rural areas could address summer learning loss, and ultimately the achievement gap, through access to opportunity, books, and learning resources.


Virginia Rural Elementary Schools Receive Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children Grants

Two rural public elementary schools in Virginia will receive grants of $50,000 each from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, which provides educational resources to underfunded schools in rural communities.


Administration Releases Report, Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty

On May 20, 2015, the White House released the report, entitled, Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty. The report examines poverty in rural areas, compares urban and rural poverty rates, discusses how safety net programs reduce rural poverty, and highlights the Administration's efforts and proposals to reduce poverty and promote opportunity in rural communities.


Listen to IEL's Community Schools and Equity Recorded Webinar Series

Beginning in January 2015, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) has hosted a series of community schools and equity webinars. The webinars explore how to utilize the full-service community school approach, both in policy and in practice. In addition, these webinars also discuss methods of closing the equity and opportunity gaps for all children.


Rural Schools Collaborative Grant Applications Due May 15, 2015

The Rural Schools Collaborative announced its Grants in Place program for rural classroom teachers. Grants in Place will provide up to twenty grants for innovative place-based education projects. Funding will be awarded for projects that will commence in Fall 2015. 


U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant Applications Due May 20, 2015

On March 16, 2015, the US Department of Agriculture released the Fiscal Year 2016 Farm to School Grant Applications. The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Offers Strategies for Starting or Expanding a Farm to School Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School webinar series will offer helpful guidance on how schools can start or expand their farm to school program in 2015. This 11-part webinar series will help participants develop new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom and will include topics like building a team, menu planning and program sustainability.


Read about the U.S. Department of Education's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request

Critical investments in preschool, K-12 and higher education are among the highlights of the Department of Education's 2016 budget request.


Register Now for IEL's March 17 Webinar: My Brother's Keeper and Community Schools

This upcoming webinar will focus on strategies to effectively reach young men of color in community schools through the lens of President Obama's initiative known as My Brother's Keeper. Webinar presenters will also discuss how to leverage community partnerships to address racial and educational disparities.


Mark Your Calendar: March 4th and March 5th Webinars Focus on Rural Education Issues

The Regional Education Laboratories (REL) are presenting webinars which focus on rural education topics. REL Central will present the March 4 Webinar. REL Southwest will host the March 5 Webinar.


National Education Association Celebrates Read Across America on March 2, 2015

The Rural School and Community Trust joins the National Education Association (NEA) in commemorating Read Across America on Monday, March 2, 2015.


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.


Register Now for Feb. 12 Webinar: Rural Challenges and Resources Needed for Dropout Prevention

The high school dropout problem presents unique challenges for rural schools and communities. This Feb. 12 webinar will reveal the severity of the dropout problem in rural America, risk factors for dropping out, and best-practice solutions.


Early Childhood Education: Few States Measuring Up

Education Week’s 2015 Quality Counts focuses on what states are doing to support learning for very young children.


E-Rate Gets Big Funding Boost, New Rules

In December the FCC gave E-Rate — the federal program that provides funding to schools and libraries for technology and high-speed internet — a funding increase of $1.5 billion.


Half of U.S. Students Eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch

More students in the U.S. are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches than at any time in history, but some miss the point in quibbles over definitions.


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.


Students Injured in Shooting Outside School

Shooting injures four students outside a Portland, Oregon school.


Charter Schools Facing Legal Challenges

A recent court ruling in Arizona found that the state’s charter schools are not entitled to the same level of funding as regular schools, and a complaint has been filed in with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights claiming that most of Delaware’s charters are racially identifiable and that common enrollment practices violate several provisions of federal law.


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.


Latest School Tragedy: Many Questions, Few Answers

The latest shooting in an American high school points to common factors and confounding differences in deadly incidents of school violence.


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.


Education a Key Issue in Some State Elections

Education may play a surprisingly large role in several state elections next month and somel issues are challenging partisan divisions.
Date: October 29, 2014
Related Categories: Administrator, Parent, Rural Policy Matters, Teacher
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues, testing


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.


Register Now for December 10 NCEEP Webinar: Issues, Challenges and Successes for GEAR UP Programs in Rural Areas

Throughout the United States, GEAR UP programs in rural communities face unique challenges trying to facilitate college readiness and access for low-income, first-generation students, ranging from transportation issues, teacher quality and turnover, and inadequate K-12 resources and rigor to lack of post-secondary education and economic development opportunities.

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.


Missouri Expands Concealed Carry in Schools

Missouri joins other states that allow guns in schools.


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.


Thank a Million Teachers Grant Applications Due October 31, 2014

In an effort to make a positive impact on the lives of educators and their students, the University of Farmers Education Foundation is giving away $1 million in grants to America's teachers. Parents, students and fellow-educators can help by saying "Thank You" to an educator that's made a difference in his or her life and the community


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.


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.


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.


NCLB Requirements Come Due

RPM Editorial: The nation’s schools are supposed to be meeting all provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act at the start of this school year. But statistical impossibility, inconsistent enforcement, and state waivers leave the law’s provisions in limbo.


Schools May Still Apply to Offer Free Lunches to All Students

School districts still have time to apply to a federal program that allows high-poverty schools to offer free meals to all students.
Date: July 28, 2014
Related Categories: Administrator, Community Advocate, Parent, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Income Related Issues


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.


Why Rural Matters 2013-14 Released

The Rural Trust releases Why Rural Matters 2013–14.


Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Proposal Eliminates Impact Aid Section 8002 Funding

The Administration's Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal request recommends the elimination of funding for Impact Aid, Section 8002 (Federal Properties) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


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.


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.


USDA Announces FY 2014 Funds Availability for Household Water Well System Grants

On March 26, 2014, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development announced the available funding of $1,019,000 for the Household Water Well System grants for the fiscal year 2014.


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.


Recent School Shootings Follow Familiar Patterns

Three recent school shootings are tragically familiar.
Date: January 27, 2014
Related Categories: Administrator, Community Advocate, Elected Official/Staff, Media, Parent, Rural Policy Matters, Student, Teacher
Related Tags: Violence, Youth


Deadline for White House Student Film Festival Submissions: January 29, 2014

The White House announced its first video contest created just for K-12 students. Submissions should highlight the power of technology in schools.
Date: January 02, 2014
Related Categories: Administrator, Capacity Building, Elected Official/Staff, Media, Parent, Student, Teacher
Related Tags: K-12, Technology


There's Poverty...

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


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.


Hope to See You in the Future

A collaborative community effort to engage and support young people leads to a new business in a small North Carolina community.


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.


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.


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.


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.


W.K. Kellogg Foundation Announces $5 Million Investment to Support Children's Educational Success from Birth to Age 8

On August 26, 2013, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced a $5 million investment to identify and cultivate innovations in the growing field of family engagement that support children's educational success from birth to 8 years old.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Aeronautics in the Future for 2013 Rural Leonore Annenberg Scholarship Winner

A high school junior interested in rocketry and engineering has been selected for a significant national scholarship.


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.


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.


The President's 2014 Budget Proposal for Education: Early Learning Is a Key Investment

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget highlights key education investments in early learning, furthering the K-12 reform agenda, college affordability and quality, school safety and expanded opportunities for both middle- and low-income communities, while protecting formula programs for at-risk populations overall.


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.


"Impact Aid" School Districts Brace for Sequester

Because most districts have already received their federal funding for the current school year, any impact from the federal sequester would affect the next school year. However, for those school districts which receive Impact Aid funding, the effects may be more immediate.


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.


The Experiences of Rural LGBT Youth

Strengths and Silences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students in Rural and Small Town SchoolsStrengths and Silences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students in Rural and Small Town Schools underscores the need for educators and policymakers to do more to address the safety risks for LGBT students in rural and small town schools.


Texas Legislators Grapple with Fixing the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Senate committees in Texas heard testimony in a day-long hearing on high rates, discriminatory trends of school discipline in the state.


Kentucky Court Considers Miranda Warnings

Kentucky’s Supreme Court will determine whether students should receive Miranda warnings when questioned by law enforcement in school settings.
Date: November 27, 2012
Related Categories: Administrator, In Local News, Networks/Groups, Parent, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Discipline


Georgia Charter Law Faces Legal Fight

Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative that would expand charter operations in Georgia. But some opponents are challenging it in court, arguing that the language of the initiative was misleading.


Global Citizen Year: Apply by Nov. 30 for 2014 Program

A year outside the traditional classroom environment before college impacts your future in ways you can hardly yet imagine.


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.


Parents as Teachers Featured in Latest Rural Trust Webinar

The Parents as Teachers program is a home visitation model that supports families with young children. Participating children have seen big gains in general development, school readiness, health, and parent-child involvement.


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.


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.


"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.


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.


Nonprofit Petitions U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Zero Tolerance Case

A civil liberties organization has asked the nation’s highest court to consider the case of a 14-year-old expelled for a plastic pen shooter.


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.


Hold-Harmless Clause Spurs Pennsylvania Legislators' Planned School Finance Lawsuit

Three Pennsylvania State Representatives have announced that they plan to file a lawsuit claiming the current school funding formula violates the state Constitution's equal protection clause but are targeting a rural-friendly provision in doing so.


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.


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.


i3 Development Grant Preapplication Deadline

April 9 is the deadline for i3 Preapplications for the U.S. Department of Education's 2012 Investing in Innovation grant competition.


Department of Education Launches Pre-Application for 2012 i3 Program

The U.S. Department of Education announced the third year of the Investing in Innovation grant competition for local educational agencies, groups of schools and non-profit organizations to improve student results through innovative practices.


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.


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.


Bill Would Expand Federal Funding for Charter Schools

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would increase federal funding for charter schools.


Key Portion of Alabama Immigration Law Upheld

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


Arizona Revisits Consolidation

Arizona legislators consider consolidation options for school districts.


Proposed Post Office Closures Fall Hard on Rural Communities

The U.S. Postal Service is studying the closure of more than 4,000 post offices, many in rural communities.


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.


Nominate a Rural Champion of Change

Do you know someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in their rural community? Nominate them to be a Champion of Change.


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.


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.  


School Discipline Update: April 2011

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


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.


Save the Children Joins Funding Formula Campaign

The national non-profit Save the Children is the newest sponsor to join the Formula Fairness Campaign.


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."


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.


The Rural Solution: How Community Schools Can Reinvigorate Rural Education

Doris Terry Williams, executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust and director of the Trust's Capacity Building Program, explains the value of full-service community schools in rural areas in this report from the Center for American Progress.


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.


New Publication on EITC


The Foundation for the Mid South just released Earned Income Tax Credit: Working Hands Getting a Hand Up to share information on this valuable anti-poverty tool helping working, low-income people keep more of their earnings.
Date: January 13, 2011
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Networks/Groups, Parent, Resource Center, What's New
Related Tags: Income Related Issues, Poverty


New Report Compares Afterschool Program Access in Rural, Urban Communities

The Afterschool Alliance, in conjunction with JC Penney Afterschool, has released new survey data on afterschool program participation, satisfaction, and demand in rural, urban, and suburban communities.
Date: October 17, 2010
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Parent, What's New
Related Tags: Community Development, Report, Youth


Consolidation Watch: State Policies on an Important Rural Issue

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


Small Arkansas Town Focus of Secretary Visit

The small town of Hamburg, Arkansas made the news earlier this month when Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Deputy Secretary John White visited Hamburg schools as part of an eight-state tour. The visit highlighted two programs at the diverse 2,100-student district in southeast Arkansas....


School Discipline: An Occasional Series on Developments in School Disciplinary Policies and Practices

Special education students in Texas are much more likely to receive exclusionary discipline at school…


Congressional Action on Corporal Punishment in Schools

A bill in the U.S. Congress would end corporal punishment in American schools…


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.


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...


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…"


Fact and Figures About Parent Involvement in Children's Homework

Question: In what locales are parents most likely to check their children’s homework?
Date: August 20, 2009
Related Categories: Parent, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Elementary School, Facts and Figures, High School


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


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.....


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...


Rural South Carolinians Help District Rethink Consolidation

Communities pulled together in South Carolina to stop the closure of their schools…


Percent Schools with Formal After-School Programs*

Figures from the U.S. Department of Education show the availability of after-school programs as sorted by community type.
Date: March 31, 2009
Related Categories: Parent, Rural Policy Matters, Student
Related Tags: Graphs, Youth


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…


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.


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.


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.


Characteristics of a Successful High-Poverty Rural School: A Review

A discussion of a paper presented at this year's American Education Research Association that attempts to answer the question of why some rural schools do better than others...


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.


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.


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...


Rachel's Notes: June 5, 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.


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...


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.


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.'


Rachel's Notes: March 4, 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.


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. "


Mississippi Parents and Students Hold Public Schools Accountable

Indianola, Mississippi is one of those places where parents and students in public school must work hard, continuously, to push the schools to educate students and to hold the schools accountable to the people they are supposed to serve.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


The Promise and the Power of Distance Learning in Rural Education

Distance Learning in Rural EducationDistance learning is here to stay. Its future appears to be unsure only in its direction or extent of growth. This paper focuses on the applicability and potential of two-way interactive television (I-TV) for small and rural K-12 schools as a primary asset in improving educational access and equity and calls for the adoption of enlightened distance learning policies and guidelines at the state and local levels. Appendices include: (1) Characteristics of Major Distance Learning Technologies; (2) Types of Distance Learning Technologies; and (3) a Categorization of State Videoconferencing Policies. The Appendices are followed by a glossary of technical terms and list of references.


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.


Rural School Facilities: State Policies that Provide Students with an Environment to Promote Learning

Rural School FacilitiesEven though states nationwide spend $30 billion annually on school facilities, rural schools are frequently ignored, neglected, or under-funded--a condition that negatively impacts student learning, according to this policy report from the Rural Trust. The report chronicles the challenges faced by rural school districts to build and maintain quality schools and offers policy options for fair and effective state school facilities programs.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Dollars and Sense: The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools

Dollars and SenseDollars & Sense is a collaborative effort of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust, and Concordia, Inc. A team of nine researchers with expertise in education, architecture, and quantitative research challenge the common belief that big schools are cheaper to build and maintain than are small ones. Their conclusion: investing tax dollars in small schools makes good economic sense.


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.


The Rural School Bus Ride in Five States

Rural School Bus Ride in Five StatesThis report provides the first detailed picture of the features of the rural school bus ride and reveals troubling information about the long commutes adults force on rural children.


How to Analyze Your State's Education Finance System

This workbook walks you through the complex maze of information gathering and analysis needed to begin to make sense of finance systems. We recommend using the guide online to make it easier to access various sources of information.


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.


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.


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.


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.