Larry Case is what you'd expect as the nation's top agricultural education official. He's a Missouri farm boy who, by his own admission, is a talker. Yet he has no trouble getting to the point about what agricultural education and the National FFA Organization must do to draw students in a changing world. "If you don't have community support and rigorous education today, you are out of business," he said. Case, 67, will step down as national FFA advisor in January. He has led that iconic rural education organization since 1984, guiding it through an era when fundamental shifts in ...


A new non-profit that focuses on small, rural school districts in the Missouri Ozarks region will be on show when national advocates for rural education meet July 15 in Washington, D.C. Gary Funk, director of the Rural Schools Partnership, will talk about the work it's doing to strengthen schools at the summer meeting of Organizations Concerned About Rural Education, a coalition of more than two dozen education, farm, rural, technology and utility organizations. The Rural Schools Partnership launched in 2010 after a year-long study by the Community Foundation for the Ozarks (of which Funk served as president and CEO ...


Rural school districts in five central U.S. states—particularly districts with high numbers of Native Americans—have "extremely high student mobility rates," a concern that can hinder schools' progress, a new report says. The study by the Institute of Education Sciences suggests the reasons behind that high mobility need further research to better identify ways for rural schools to cope with high rates of student movement. The IES examined the rates of students changing schools during a school year in Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. Districts with extremely high mobility, the study concluded, had higher shares of...


Re-upping the Elementary and Secondary Education Act may be a long shot this year, but that hasn't stopped the drumbeat from rural schools to overhaul the way federal Title I funds for disadvantaged students are allocated. The latest round: A study by a research and advocacy group suggests one talked-about fix would hurt rural schools, not make funding more equitable. The June 25 issue of Rural Policy Matters, published by the Rural School and Community Trust, argues that tying funding to average salaries in local communities is no more equitable than tying it to state spending on education. Reform of ...


On a not-quite-light school-day morning, a paved farm road in North Carolina is a study in a ritual of rural life. Children in knee jeans stand bunched at mailboxes, yawning and shifting feet, waiting for an orange bus to drive out of the mist. Across the road, an old man in the garden picks beans barefooted, his pant legs rolled up to fend off last night's rain. At almost every house, one square frame of fluorescence lights a sleepy shadow inside making coffee and keeping an eye on the kids. I offer that snapshot—one I got reacquainted with a few...


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