August 2010 Archives

Education Secretary Arne Duncan's Get on the Bus Tour hits another rural school district today, reports John White, deputy secretary for rural outreach. White is in New Hampshire with the tour spending time in the Milton School District, near the Maine border. The rural district includes three schools: Nute High School, enrollment 199; Nute Middle, enrollment 169, and Milton Elementary, enrollment 375. It is moving aggressively to turn around struggling schools, White told the Rural Education blog. He'll get feedback on teacher preparation, recruitment and retention in rural schools, and ask teachers' thoughts on elevating the profession and getting the ...


A senior manager for an educational research firm says Race to the Top results reinforce the contention that small, rural schools are left behind by competitive grant funding. "RTT requirements seem best suited to densely populated and urban states. Awards have born this out, with funding going to states on the East Coast rather than to Midwestern or Western states with low population densities and high proportions of rural schools," writes Howley Caitlin in the Daily Yonder. Howley is senior manager, education and research, ICF International, in Charleston, W.Va. Rural schools lost the Race to the Top, she writes ...


The Education Department's point person for rural schools says the administration will push to make federal education law more flexible for small districts where teachers have multiple roles.


A group of aspiring early childhood teachers from Arkansas join U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other administration officials today on a tour of a rural pre-K learning center in Hamburg, Ark., that has been a major focus of reform efforts in that school district. That visit, and another to rural Hamburg High School, enrollment 365 students, are among the first stops for Duncan's Get on the Bus Tour on its initial day through the South. The tour heads to Louisiana and Mississippi after leaving Hamburg. John White, deputy secretary for rural outreach at the U.S. Department of ...


Education Secretary Arne Duncan's "Get on the Bus" tour makes its first stop today at a rural learning center and rural high school in Hamburg, Ark.


Billions of dollars in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband grants have begun to flow toward the nation's rural communities, aimed at erasing critical gaps in service and speed that hamper many rural schools or simply shut them out. The grants and projects vary widely, from funding fixed wireless broadband in Michigan to providing mobile broadband access to rural Alabama. Yet all the projects focus primarily on unserved or underserved communities and in many instances will provide discounted service to anchor institutions in communities such as schools and libraries. That has some rural advocates saying these public investments, under the ...


Teach for America has tapped a longtime teacher and administrator and a member of the new National Advisory Council on Indian Education to lead its fledgling Native Achievement Initiative.


Two findings from a recently released report on adult learners have implications for rural schools and communities. The study, "A Smart Move in Tough Times," by the Southern Regional Education Board, showed some rural states in that region doing far better than others at reaching and re-enrolling adults who left school without finishing basic and secondary education. It also showed that the rural states doing the best have made significant funding commitments to adult learning programs and have integrated them into education institutions and organizations at the local level. (Mary Ann Zehr summarized the report's interesting findings about English-language learners ...


A year-old non-profit that recruits alternative-certification teachers in California has announced it will refocus attention and resources on developing homegrown teachers for the state's rural, high-need schools. "Rural schools need people who understand the traditions and want to stay," said Catherine Kearney, president of the California Teacher Corps. "We're targeting need in a way that's become especially urgent in this economy." Kearney said the teacher corps will put new emphasis on building partnerships with school districts, including reconnecting with those already served and reaching out to others. "Rural communities in California are experiencing their own unique education challenges," Kearney said. "The...


How much is local identity in small, rural communities worth? Add another state to the list of those trying to answer that controversial question when it comes to funding schools.


Consolidation Watch tracks developments on this hot-button issue in rural districts.


Rural School and Community Trust is asking school districts affected by numbers weighting to share the details.


Number weighting in the formula used to allocate federal Title I funds works against small, high-poverty urban districts the same way it does many high-poverty rural districts.


Two headlines that will surprise no one: Small schools and schools with high numbers of kids in poverty and minorities -- many of which researchers say are concentrated in certain rural regions -- lose the most teachers. Also, principal turnover rates in those same categories of schools are the highest in the nation. I came across the numbers that show those facts while reporting this story on how universities, non-profits and rural school districts are turning to programs that nurture homegrown talent. Yet those were the only useful numbers I found attempting to paint a precise statistical picture of what ...


The U.S Department of Education's point person for rural education says he's found a number of successful programs in rural schools around the country, and he's working to help Washington identify and replicate them. "Many rural schools do a good job of making school meaningful to students with place-based programs and career and technical programs," said John White, who has served as deputy secretary for rural outreach since October. White's role is a new one for both him and the department. He joined the Education Department as press secretary in May 2009, then moved to rural outreach amid criticism ...


The vigor of America's rural communities lies in the hands of its young rural leaders, a top U.S. Department of Agriculture official told National FFA student leaders from across the country meeting in Washington. Read here what Dallas Tonsager, undersecretary for rural development at the USDA, said last week at the annual gathering. While Tonsager's remarks didn't directly address the plight of rural schools, many of the students at the conference were likely future agricultural education teachers in rural settings. And, the conference's focus on strengthening rural communities goes hand in hand with a recurring theme at rural think ...


One question lingering after a recent summit in Washington exploring how rural schools can use technology to expand student learning was who might take the lead. (Read Ian Quillan's coverage of the summit on the Digital Education blog. Here's a story that highlights one way a university in North Carolina is taking the lead and using technology (Skype and iChat, which are free) to connect with rural classrooms in four states to target a specific need. (Be sure to watch the video—there's great back-and-forth between a teacher and a child.) The $5 million Targeted Reading Intervention program, paid for ...


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