Education Policy and Activism

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Report: Leveling The Playing Field For Rural Students

Leveling the Playing FieldLimited access to advanced coursework, medical care, food and employment opportunities continue to daunt students in many rural communities, according to a report released today by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and The Rural School and Community Trust.


Register Now for April 8 Webinar: Closing the Achievement Gap in Rural Districts: Lessons from Research and the Field

Hosted by the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Central at Marzano Research, this April 8 webinar will provide participants with research and information about the instructional and organizational practices of rural districts that have closed the achievement gap.


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.


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.


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

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


Urban School Closures Similar to Rural Closures

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


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.


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.


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

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


Register for Racial Healing Network Regional Calls

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


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

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


Rural Trust Special Report on School Violence

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


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

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


The Rules We Play By, Part 4: Legal Interventions

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


Federal Involvement in School Discipline Reform Yields Results

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


North Carolina State Board Takes Stand Against Corporal Punishment

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


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

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


U.S. Department of Education Announces Start of 2013 i3 Grant Competition

On March 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the $150 million 2013 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition with the release of the program's invitation for pre-applications for the i3 "Development" grant category and the notice of final priorities for the i3 program overall.


Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant

View the latest Rural Trust i3 resources here, including archived webinars, presentations, and grant competition news. The Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant was established under section 14007 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and provides funding to support local educational agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit organizations in partnership with one or more LEAs or a consortium of schools.


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

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


Rural School Innovations Webinar: The STAR School

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


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.


The Rules We Play By, Part 3: Citizen Action and Research

Local public schools are governed by a variety of rules. But who makes the rules? This segment of “The Rules We Play By” is the third in a series of RPM articles that explore some of the ways public policy affects what’s possible in local schools — and why you should care.


Some Ballot Initiatives Could Have Far-Reaching Outcomes

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


Ohio School Levies Meet Mixed Success; School Funding Fight Likely

Voters in the Buckeye State approved many local district requests for funding, but calls are growing louder for a school finance system overall. 


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.


Voters Consider Ballot Initiatives on Education

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


The Rules We Play By, Part 2: Who Makes the Rules?

Local public schools are governed by a variety of rules. But who makes those rules? The "Who Makes the Rule?" is the second in a series of RPM stories that explores some of the ways public policy affects what's possible in local schools — and why you should care.
Date: October 29, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Education Policy and Activism


Alabama State Department of Education Sued Over Student Records

Advocacy organization says harsh immigration law forced students to flee schools for fear of deportation.


Proposed Pennsylvania Legislation to Revise Charter School Funding Dies

Keystone state legislators struggle with reforming charter school regulations in the wake of lawsuits over funding.


Louisiana Judge Questions Whether Vouchers Impacting Desegregation Orders

The state superintendent of education must respond to allegations from a rural district that it cannot afford to comply with a new state voucher law and desegregation orders.


California Law Requiring Charters to Serve Free and Reduced Price Meals Vetoed

Governor Brown's veto revives questions about how well loose oversight serves poor students in charter schools.


"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.


The Rules We Play By

The official rules — at whatever level — set the tone, shape expectations, and govern the ways humans interact.
Date: August 28, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism


Some Effects of Charter School Funding Plans on Smaller School Districts

The rapid expansion of charter schools in some states is raising questions about their impact on the funding of regular public schools.


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.


Thomasville Rendezvous Celebrates Place-Based Learning

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


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

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


Rural Schools a Growing Part of the National Community School Conversation

The Coalition for Community Schools’ biennial forum is a major convening of community school advocates, and the Rural Trust engaged participants on related policy issues with particular impact on rural schools.


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.


Dropout Prevention Webinar Set for May 3

The Rural Trust's Doris Terry Williams will be a presenter at the first of three webinars focusing on dropout prevention and recovery work.


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.


Arkansas Rural Advocates Protect Transportation Funding for Districts

Arkansas’ Rural Community Alliance averts a transportation funding loss of over $100K that would have impacted some of the state’s smallest districts.


Rural Advocates Attend Strategy Workshop to Combat Harsh School Discipline

North Carolina and South Carolina rural education working groups connect with others in the region who are working to dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Discipline, Education Policy and Activism, Youth


School Discipline Reform Underway in Colorado

Student-led efforts have culminated in legislation that would reduce suspensions and expulsions in Colorado.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Discipline, Education Policy and Activism, Youth


Finding Ways to Keep Students in School

Some states and districts are seeking the right combination of policy changes that will reduce dropout rates.
Date: February 23, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Discipline, Education Policy and Activism


Georgia Looking for Ways to Support Rural Teacher Recruitment

Georgia will use part of its Race to the Top award to reward teachers for relocating to rural districts.


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

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


Why Rural Matters 2011-12 Press Release

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


Rural Classroom: Importance of Cooperative Learning Webinar

The Center for Midwestern Initiatives hosted the webinar Rural Classroom: Importance of Cooperative Learning—Rural Trust Global Teacher Fellows' Perspective on November 10, 2011.


New Co-Sponsor of All Children Are Equal Act

The All Children are Equal Act in the U.S. House of Representatives has a new co-sponsor.


Don't Miss It!

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


Early Childhood Education in Rural Communities

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


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

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


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

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


All Children are Equal Act Introduced

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


Every Child in Every Neighborhood

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


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.


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

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


Rural North Carolinians Address Important Education Policies

Punitive and unequal disciplinary policies and funding inequities are just two of the public policies that the North Carolina Rural Education Working Group addresses. This month the group held a conference to draw attention to the issues and to their work.


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."


Rural School Innovations Webinar: Search Institute's "Building Assets-Reducing Risks"

Search Institute's "Building Assets-Reducing Risks Program: Replication and Expansion of an Effective Strategy to Turn Around Low-Achieving Schools" was the focus of this Rural School Innovations Webinar from the Rural Trust.


Consolidation Fight-Back Toolkit

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


Research Raises Doubts About Benefits of Consolidation

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


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

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


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

Equity and adequacy are school finance terms used so frequently in discussion that they seem almost interchangeable. But they are actually two different, but interdependent and equally important, measures of a state’s school funding system and how well it provides educational resources and opportunity to all students and all schools.


Wyoming Legislation Could Add Strings to Funding

Legislative proposals could add a number of new requirements for districts to the school finance formula.


South Dakota Funding Proposal Worse Than Expected

Schools in South Dakota thought budget cuts would total 5%, but cuts are likely to be much deeper.


Washington Special Education Funding Lawsuit Ends

Court denies districts’ request for more funding for special education; rural districts would be disproportionately affected by proposed budget cuts.


North Carolina Weighing Options

North Carolina facing severe education funding cuts and increases in student homelessness.


California Settles School Fee Lawsuit

California will enforce its law prohibiting schools from charging students “fees” to participate in certain classes and activities.


Funding Crisis Driving Some Rural Oregon Districts to Charters

The funding crisis and other budget cuts are pushing some small rural districts in Oregon to become charter schools.


Financing Community Schools: Leveraging Resources to Support Student Success

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


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

A strong school finance system depends on an equitable and productive tax system

Date: December 21, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Education Policy and Activism, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Consolidation Lawsuit in Arkansas Addresses Funding Issues

A small rural Arkansas district has sued the state in an attempt to increase funding equity and to establish limits on how long students can be forced to ride a bus to school



Wisconsin Funding Plan Unveiled

A new funding plan proposed in Wisconsin would reduce reliance on property taxes and provide protections specifically for rural districts



Montana in Fight Over School Funding Shifts

Revenues are higher in Montana than predicted earlier this year, but the state is still debating how to fund schools



Alabama Faces Serious Budgetary Woes

Alabama schools, which have already sustained a reduction in state funds of 20% over the last four years, may face additional mid-year cuts



South Dakota Districts to be Heard Before State Supreme Court

A school funding lawsuit with a circuitous history will be heard next month in South Dakota



Rural New York School Recruits Overseas Students

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


Rural Trust Wishes Harrison Well in New Position

Lynnette Harrison, member of Rural Trust’s Field Services staff, has taken a new position…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism, RT Policy Department


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

The U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving a young special education student who was taken from school without notifying his parents or reading his Miranda rights after he was accused of a property crime…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Disabilities, Discipline, Education Policy and Activism


2010 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund For Teachers Grant Recipients

Read about the 2010 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund for Teachers grant recipients, and browse the curriculum they developed with their funds.


Take Advantage of Congressional Break to Contact Representatives

The federal Title I formulas send more funding for poor students to large low-poverty suburban districts than to smaller, higher-poverty rural districts. That’s not right and Congress needs to hear that the formulas should be fixed.


Coalition Releases Document Calling for "Opportunity to Learn" for all Students

A coalition of civil rights organizations has issued a compelling document outlining new federal strategies to ensure that all students have substantive and fair opportunities to learn. The document’s critique of competitive mechanisms for distributing federal funding and use of unproven school turnaround strategies that harm students and communities is powerful. Equally important are the strategies it outlines to strengthen communities, engage parents in schools in meaningful way, and make states accountable for providing equitable resources and opportunities for all students. Such strategies would take federal policy in new directions to address the challenges and gross inequities facing low-income students and communities…


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…


North Carolina District Takes Steps to End Zero Tolerance

North Carolina district backs away from controversial discipline policy…


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

Two new reports document in detail the overuse of exclusionary discipline (suspension and expulsion) in schools and the resulting increase in students who ultimately end up in the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice system. Nationally, advocates are working to stop this “schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline” by changing policies and laws to protect students’ right to an education and to ensure that they remain in school.


Delaware Raises Minimum Reporting Age

Delaware requires schools to report to law enforcement certain student behaviors. But a new law gives schools more reporting leeway for children nine to eleven years old.


Connecticut Reduces Suspension Rate

Publicity along with a new law limiting when students can be put out of school is credited with reducing the state’s high suspension rate.


Georgia Restricts Disciplinary Restraints

Georgia’s state school board has banned schools from using certain kinds of physical restraints as disciplinary measures.


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

Part III in the Rural School Funding News (RSFN) special series, “Financing Rural Schools,” looks at provisions for geographic differences and cost-of-living factors.


Oklahoma Ballot Initiative Faces Opposition

A bill to increase spending on Oklahoma schools faces varied opposition in the state, in part, because the measure would peg spending to that of neighboring states.


South Carolina Report Examines School Governance Structures

School districts in South Carolina are controlled largely by legislative delegations, with some unusual implications.


The RPM-PX Take on a Report Exploring Practices in Successful "Turnaround" Schools

There is no single solution to improving persistently low-performing schools; instead improvement takes a variety of supports and strategies and will work differently in the unique circumstances of individual schools.


Arkansas Community Revitalization Efforts Share Great Approaches

Five rural Arkansas communities are partnering with the Rural Community Alliance on community revitalization initiatives to strengthen their communities, grow their economies, and support educational opportunity. What they are doing and learning has much to offer other rural communities dealing with declining enrollment and the erosion of jobs and economic opportunity…


No Small Matter: Kagan, Stevens, Marshall and a Rural Child Named Kadrmas

President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court has brought to light an important disagreement she had with Justice Thurgood Marshall, the great civil rights icon for whom she clerked. It happens that the disagreement involved the educational rights of a poor rural student...
Date: May 27, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Education Policy and Activism, Income Related Issues, School Location


Education Official Visits Rural Schools Partnership Conference

The newly christened Ozarks Teacher Corps is an innovative partnership that will be worth watching to see if it can be replicated in other rural areas, said John White, a U.S. Department of Education leader who attended the annual Rural Schools Partnership conference on May 6, 2010 in Thomasville, Mo.


Children's Defense Fund Calls for Overhaul of Title I Funding

In a pointed letter to Congressional leadership, the Children’s Defense Fund makes the case for fixing the Title I funding formulas and changing other aspects of the federal education law…


Save Alabama's Small Schools Hosts Statewide Meeting

SASS conference draws attention for important issues…
Date: April 29, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism


Rural School Districts Eligible for Federal i3 Grant Application Assistance

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


RPM's Take on the Teacher and Principal Provisions of Blueprint for Reform

Blueprint requires states to rate teachers and principals according to the test scores of their students, a provision RPM thinks will drive teachers away from the schools where they may be most needed…
Date: March 26, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, Teacher
Related Tags: Education Policy and Activism, No Child Left Behind, Teacher Issues, Title I


Join the Formula Fairness Campaign

Join the Formula Fairness Campaign to fix what’s wrong about the formula for distributing federal funds for the education of disadvantaged students in public schools.


Investing in Innovation (i3): A Rural School Technical Assistance Initiative Webinar

Investing in Innovation (i3): A Rural School Technical Assistance Initiative was the theme of this March 19, 2010 webinar from the Rural School and Community Trust.


Rural Education Advocacy Group Speaks Out on Charters

A group of Alabama citizens that advocates for policies that bring equitable opportunity for rural students and the small and rural schools they attend has taken a stand as the state considers adopting a charter school law… 
Date: February 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Civic Engagement, Education Policy and Activism, Race to the Top


Arkansas State Board Denies Innovative Consolidation Approach

Two small high-achieving districts proposed an innovative approach to meeting the state’s minimum enrollment law, but the state school board wasn’t interested…
Date: February 25, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, Education Policy and Activism, School/District Size


Big Congrats to Arkansas's Rural Community Alliance

The Rural Community Alliance continues to engage more rural residents in its important work…
Date: February 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism


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 Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation are likely to affect rural schools…


Race to Top Revisions Slightly Better for Rural Schools

New guidelines for Race to the Top applications are slightly better for rural schools…


Race to the Top Criteria: The RPM Analysis

RPM provides a brief interpretation of the 19 criteria on which RTTT awards points to state grant proposals…


Rural School and Community Trust Capitol Hill Briefing

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


2009 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund For Teachers Grant Recipients

Read about the 2009 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund for Teachers grant recipients, and browse the curriculum they developed with their funds.


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.


RSIN Webinar: Why Rural Matters 2009

The October 28, 2009 Rural School and Community Trust webinar, Why Rural Matters 2009, built on our June 2009 preview and highlighted results of the 2009 report, presenting all-new data essential for rural schools.



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…


Why Rural Matters 2009: Sneak Preview

The signature biennial report on rural education will be released later this fall. We provide a glimpse into the report…
Date: September 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: All States, Education Policy and Activism, Race to the Top, Why Rural Matters


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…


North Carolina Voices: Radio Series Addresses Rural Education Issues

WUNC Reporter Dave DeWitt visits Warren County to bring listeners the latest edition of the award-winning North Carolina Voices series. The Rural Trust's Executive Director Dr. Doris Terry Williams and Policy Director Marty Strange are featured in the first segment of the series.


Rural Schools Partnership Launched

Rural Schools PartnershipThe Community Foundation of the Ozarks has launched the Rural Schools Partnership, a comprehensive effort to enhance rural education through alternative resource development, collaboration, and place-based education strategies. The Rural Trust is a partner in this program.


Getting Real About Rural Schools

Misconceptions about rural schools abound and they hurt students and communities, especially in the toughest places. In this essay we explore some of the realities of rural education and some of the things that would actually make a positive difference…


Rural Education Finance Center

The Rural Education Finance Center works on all levels to improve educational opportunity for rural children by reducing inequities in state school finance systems, strengthening the fiscal practices of rural schools, and insuring the adequacy of funding to rural schools.


RSIN Webinar: "Why Rural Matters 2009," June 3, 2009

Why Rural Matters 2009 was the theme of the June 2009 Rural School Innovation Network webinar. The conference call and slide presentation featured a preview of Why Rural Matters 2009, to be released in Fall 2009.


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

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


College Offers New Major in Rural Studies

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College launches a degree program in Rural Studies; admissions are currently open.


Missouri Arguments Heard

Rural Missouri districts appeal school funding lawsuit decision…


Guide to Session Materials: Rural Education Working Group 2009

Download selected handouts and PowerPoint presentations from REWG-2009 workshops. All documents are available as PDFs.


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

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


Lack of Sleep Linked to Poorer Academic Performance, Behavior

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


Governor Refusing Education Stimulus Funding

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


Many Children Left Behind

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


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

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


2008 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund For Teachers Grant Recipients

Read about the 2008 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund for Teachers grant recipients, and browse the curriculum they developed with their funds.


Rural South Carolinians Help District Rethink Consolidation

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


Wisconsin Network Proposes New Funding Plan

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


Poorer Smaller Districts Lose Out in Stimulus

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


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…


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.


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


About the Rural School Innovation Network

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


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

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


Invitation to Join

An Invitation from the Director


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…


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.


Home Grown Teachers

An extensive locally developed and locally funded grow-your-own-teacher program is underway in North Carolina's Bertie County, the state's poorest school system in terms of local funding.


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.


2008 Federal Election Outcomes

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


2009 REWG: Make Your Plans

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


Rachel's Notes: October 22, 2008

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



RSIN Webinar: School Consolidation, October 22, 2008

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


South Dakota Lawsuit Highlights Rural Issues

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


Structuring Schools So Students Succeed: Rural Perspectives

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


Rachel's Notes: October 9, 2008

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



Review: Meeting the Challenge of Rural Pre-K

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


Working Together to Stay Small, Get More Efficient

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


Indian Education

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


Rural Teacher Salaries: Big Threat to Teacher Quality

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


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

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


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...


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

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


Some Lessons from the Rural Experience in School Finance Reform

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


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

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


Rachel's Notes: May 6, 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: "Additional Learning Opportunities in Rural Communities: Needs, Successes, and Challenges"

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


State Test Scores in Kentucky Reflect Socio-Economic Status

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


RSIN Quarterly: Case Studies of Successful Practices

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


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

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


Title I's Small State Minimum

Federal funds distributed to schools to help educate disadvantaged children are distributed through a complicated series of formulas. One of the most political of the Title I provisions is the so-called "small state minimum"...


Education Clauses in State Constitutions

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


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

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


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

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


Youth-Led Poverty Reduction Project

In 2006, students in St. Helena, Louisiana worked to ensure that low-income members of their community received their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—a provision in the federal tax code targeting people of incomes below $35,000 to offset the burden of social security taxes.


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. "


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.


Rural Advocate Uncovers Privatization Ploy

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


Rural Advocate Uncovers Privatization Ploy: Online Supplement

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


Recommendations for Improvements to No Child Left Behind

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


The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools

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


Why Small Schools Work: Ten Reasons Small Schools Positively Impact Students and their Learning

While numerous studies have documented that small schools effectively boost student achievement, especially among at-risk students, a new report now summarizes the vast research literature that explains just why small works in schooling.


New Mexico Provides Support to Rural Schools to Engage in Community Revitalization

The New Mexico Department of Education wants to improve rural education in the state by funding schools to engage their students and teachers in direct efforts to revitalize and improve the economically distressed communities the schools serve...


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

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


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

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


Learning with Public Purpose

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


20 Strategies to Address Declining Enrollment

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


Breaking the Fall: Cushioning the Impact of Rural Declining Enrollment

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


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

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


National Rural Education Association Task Force Reports on School Consolidation

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


Providing Rural Students with a High Quality Education

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


How to Know if Your School or District is Threatened with Consolidation—and What to Do About It

Participants at a workshop at the Rural Education Working Group conference in Charleston, West Virginia, April 1–3, talked about how to anticipate a threat to consolidate your school before it is too late to stop it, and what to do about it. Here are just some of the notes from workshop leader Robin Lambert, a consultant to the Rural Trust, with a few ideas added later.
Date: July 01, 2005
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Consolidation, Education Policy and Activism


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

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


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

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


Why Rural Matters 2005: News Conference Transcript

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


Why Rural Matters 2005: Print Edition

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


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

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


Best Fiscal Management Practices for Rural Schools

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


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

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


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.


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.


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

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


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.


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

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


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.


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.


The Competitive Disadvantage: Teacher Compensation in Rural America

The Competitive DisadvantageThe No Child Left Behind Act envisions a "highly qualified" teacher in every American classroom. It is a noble goal, to be sure, but according to this report, it is a goal that presents special challenges to already stressed rural schools struggling to recruit and retain qualified teachers. A severe teacher shortage, combined with rural teacher salaries that lag significantly behind those of urban and suburban teachers, will make it difficult to achieve the vision articulated in NCLB. The Competitive Disadvantage explores the latest data and research relevant to rural teacher compensation and suggests policy directions that can help guarantee that no rural children are left behind in the national quest for educational excellence.


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

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


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.


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.


Where Has All the "Rural" Gone?

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


A Reasonably Equal Share: Educational Equity in Vermont

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


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

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


School Consolidation and Transportation Policy: An Empirical and Institutional Analysis

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


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

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


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

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


A Message for the 'War Room'

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


Public School Standards: Discussing the Case for Community Control

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


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

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


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

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


Standing Up for Community and School

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