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Rural News Roundup: Continuation Schools, and Breaking Rules

California Districts Closing Continuation Schools

Budget cuts are forcing some California rural districts to close special schools designed to prevent academically struggling students from dropping out.

These schools, known as continuation schools in California, have existed for more than 50 years, but rural areas in particular are having a hard time keeping their doors open, according to a recent article on EdSource Extra, which covers trends and innovations in California education. EdSource is a California nonprofit education research group.

The story cites figures that show 28 fewer continuation schools existed in 2010 than two years prior. The state has 497 such schools. Some rural districts have closed the schools outright while others are moving students into classrooms on a regular high school campus.

These schools sound similar to a Texas program that was highlighted by federal officials last week as an innovative dropout prevention strategy.

Rural After-School Program Breaking the Rules

A woman who started a free after-school program in a struggling, rural town has gotten into trouble for not following the state's child-care licensing rules.

She says she didn't intend to break the rules and simply wanted to give high-poverty kids a free and better after-school option. She says the regulations are designed for metropolitan areas, but state officials say the woman is making little effort to keep kids' safe.

The Denver Post ran an article about the need for these kinds of programs in rural areas, the difficulty in offering them, and the state rules that come into play.

The leader of the after-school program is working with state officials on a solution, but the scenario raises good questions about how state rules should be applied and whether exemptions should be made for rural areas with limited resources.

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