What if I told you there were millions of American boys and girls living in communities where half of students are low-income, just one in five adults has earned a bachelor’s degree, and only 27 percent of high school graduates go on to college?
What if I told you these students are more likely than their peers in any other geographic area to live in poverty?
Most of you would probably gather that I’m talking about our inner cities.
These statistics describe rural America.
Rural public schools enroll eleven million children, fully a quarter of students nationwide. Yet, sadly, the challenges faced by rural educators and their students have received scant attention from national education leaders.
My organization, Bellwether Education Partners, is trying to help solve this problem.
With generous financial support from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation (based in Boise, Idaho) we are helping to launch a new two-year initiative, Rural Opportunities Consortium Idaho (ROCI), to study the challenges facing and the opportunities available to rural communities and their schools.
Bellwether will produce a series of papers and policy briefs on subjects like rural charter schooling and technology. We’ll also provide ongoing advice and support to the foundation, its partners, and others engaged in this issue. Though we’ll dedicate much of our energy to the particular circumstances and needs of Idaho, the project aspires to inform...