Rural Policy Matters: January 2010


Last Updated: January 29, 2010
 

Rural Policy Matters: January 2010

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Fact and Figures About English Language Learners and Rural Students
Question: In nine states, more than 10% of rural students are English Language Learners. What are the nine states?
 
Title I Formula Reverses Robin Hood
Many high poverty districts are losing a share of federal Title I funding to districts with very low poverty rates…
 
Consolidation Issues In the News
In some places the budget crisis is a rationale for policy proposals to force the consolidation of school districts. But the story is not consistent across the country. This month we feature stories from Mississippi, where the governor wants to reduce the number of school districts; from West Virginia where a state legislative audit documents the negative effects of school and district size on high school graduation rates and cautions against consolidation without full understanding of its academic implications; and in Arkansas two rural communities are seeking an innovative solution to the forced dissolution of their school districts. Read each of these stories by clicking on the link below.
 
West Virginia Legislative Audit: Big Schools Push Students Out
A West Virginia legislative audit finds that dropout rates are higher in the state's larger high schools and larger districts. Statewide, the audit found that about one-fourth of high school students drop out without a diploma, far more than the 16% officially calculated by the state using a flawed formula. The audit used statistical analysis to search for evidence of factors leading to higher dropout rates. The conclusion: district size was the most potent factor, even more important than socioeconomic status or academic performance — i.e., regardless of whether the kids were doing well academically or not, they are more likely to drop out in larger districts. Reading performance among 10th graders and average high school size also were also shown to exert substantial influence over graduation rates. Other factors associated with large schools, such as long bus rides, social alienation, barriers to participation in co-curricular activities, apparently push kids out of school more than poor grades…
 
Commission Formed to Recommend Consolidation in Mississippi
A Commission formed to recommend — rather than study — consolidation of Mississippi school districts must deliver a report later this spring…
 
A Long Distance Relationship is Proposed Between Weiner and Delight
Renee Carr, Executive Director of Arkansas's Rural Community Alliance, describes how — and why — two schools districts are seeking an innovative solution to the state's minimum enrollment law…
 
A Great Leader and Friend Passes Away
Rural education loses a good friend…
 
Rural Education Featured in Work of Civil Rights Award Winner
The creator of documentary film about rural education in South Carolina wins civil rights award…
 
South Carolina Begins Addressing Expected Teacher Shortage
Many states are facing what is expected to be a major shortage of teachers sometime in the next decade. South Carolina is taking steps to attract teachers now…
 
Two Stimulus Programs Attempt to Push School Reform
Two federal grant programs, both financed with stimulus funding, are trying to get states and school districts to make major changes to their educational structures and approaches. The programs seem divergent, but both emphasize common curriculum standards, tracking student data, and evaluating teacher performance on the basis of student test scores. RPM looks at how the Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation grant programs are likely to affect rural schools…
 
Harsh School Discipline Practices Challenged
Zero tolerance and other severe discipline practices are being challenges in courts and legislatures…
 
Rural School Funding News
 
 
Kansas Districts Will Go Back to Court
School districts say Kansas is not meeting its constitutional obligation…
 
Plans for Implementing New Funding System in Ohio
New funding moving ahead in Ohio despite budget challenges…
 
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Percent Public School Districts Offering Distance Learning Opportunities, By Locale and Grade Level
Percentage of districts with distance learning opportunities in elementary and secondary schools, ranked by area type (city, suburb, town, rural)…
 
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Teaching Performance Assessments: A Discussion of Review of Teaching Performance Assessments for Use in Human Capital Management
The Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation federal grant programs include provisions that push states and districts to measure teacher performance based on the test scores of their students. It remains to be seen how strict these requirements will be and how much they will be tied to other performance issues like pay, promotion, and tenure. It is, however, clear that states and districts will be required to do more around issues of teacher evaluation. This paper examines seven systems for assessing teacher performance…