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12 for 2012 - 12 for 2012 is an ECS “read of the field,” built on our scrutiny of new reports and research, and our analysis of emerging drivers of change. The 12 policy areas do not represent an exhaustive list of the critical issues for the coming year, nor is this report intended to dictate your education policy priorities for 2012. Rather, 12 for 2012 is intended to stimulate thinking around how best to craft the “2.0” of powerful policy across the states. (ECS, 2012)...

A Focused Look at Rural Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants - Rural schools that received federal School Improvement Grants reported teacher recruitment and retention and parent involvement were problematic because of the schools’ remote locations and large catchment areas. Long teacher commutes and isolated communities weren’t attractive to many prospective teachers. Lack of access to transportation and distance between schools and homes sometimes limited parent involvement in school-based activities. (National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, April 2014)...

National College Progression Rates: For High Schools Participating in the National Student Clearinghouse StudentTracker Service - A first-time national report offers benchmarks for public high schools--including those serving low income and minority students--to compare their graduates' college transition rates. The report covers about a quarter of all U.S. high school students from all 50 states in six high school categories: low income, high minority urban; low income, low minority urban; low income rural; higher income, high minority, urban; higher income, low minority, urban and higher income, rural. (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, October 2013)...

Selected Statistics from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2011-12 First Look - Presents findings on the numbers and types of public elementary and secondary schools in the United States and other jurisdictions. Of 98,328 operating schools in the school year 2011-12, 1,517 new ones opened and 1,840 closed. The number of teachers, 3.1 million, remained the same as 2010-11, as did the average pupil-teacher ratio of 16 to 1. California had the high at 23.4 to 1; Vermont was lowest at 10.7 to 1. More schools were in rural locations than other locales. (Patrick Keaton, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, October 2013)...

The Status of Rural Education - A status-of-rural-education report finds that in 2010-12, more than half of all school districts and one-third of public schools were in rural areas, serving a quarter of all public school students. Rural students outperform their counterparts in towns and cities on the NAEP, but don't do better than suburban students. The same demographics persist with graduation rates. (National Center for Education Statistics, May 2013)...

Transforming Low-Performing Rural Schools - Nearly 11.4 million children and youth - 23 percent of public school students - are in rural districts. That number is growing and it's increasingly critical for policymakers to address the challenges rural education faces: 40 percent of students live in poverty, 25 percent are children of color. This report is a guide to turning around rural schools, paying particular attention to the transformation model. It advocates taking advantage of the strong relationships that define rural areas and other unique resources to be found there. (Stella Bell and Sylvia Segura Pirtle,SEDL, June 2012)...

Characteristics of Midwest Region School Districts Identified for Improvement - This report presents statistical profiles of school districts in the Midwest Region designated as “in improvement” for school year 2009/10 under No Child Left Behind. The authors compare the prevalence and characteristics of districts “in improvement” versus those not in improvement, and examine the prevalence of districts in need of improvement under states’ own accountability systems. (National Center for education and Regional Assistance- Institute of Education Sciences, March 2012)...

Issue Brief: Beyond City Limits: Expanding Public Charter Schools in Rural America - This issue brief explores how public charter schools can meet the educational needs of rural communities. (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, February 2012)...

The Health and Well-Being of Children in Rural Areas: A Portrait of the Nation 2007 - This report presents findings on the health and well-being of children in rural areas, including national and state level data. It highlights statistical information on the overall health status of children in rural areas including oral, physical, and mental health; health care utilization; insurance status; social well-being; and environmental risk factors experienced by children in rural areas in the context of their families and communities. The chartbook includes figures, references, and appendices. (Health Resources and Services Administration, September 2011)...

Make Rural Schools a Priority: Considerations for Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act - In this brief, Ayers urges Congress to keep rural schools in mind when reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act so that federal law will address the needs of rural students and schools. (Center for American Progress, 2011)...

Paying Teachers for Performance: Issues and Dilemmas for Rural Schools, Teacher Tenure - This article, included in the July 2011 issue of Rural Policy Matters, explores the issue of teacher tenure and how it relates to performance-pay in a rural setting. (The Rural School and Community Trust, July 2011)...

Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation Program - The report analyzes the impact of this "competitive rural preference" by examining the applications and the reader-scorers' review of the 19 applicants who claimed the rural preference points, and were ultimately successful in securing an "i3" grant. The author doesn't look at whether the applicant should have been awarded a grant but only considers whether the rural claim was well-made by the applicants and well-evaluated by the readers. (Rural School and Community Trust, January 2011)...

Do Schools in Rural and Nonrural Districts Allocate Resources Differently? An Analysis of Spending and Staffing Patterns in the West Region States - This study finds that rural districts in the West Region states spent more per student, hired more staff per 100 students, and had higher overhead ratios of district-to-school-level resources than did city and suburban districts. Regional characteristics were more strongly related to resource allocation than were other cost factors studied. (Institute of Education Sciences, January 2011)...

The Rural Solution: How Community Schools Can Reinvigorate Rural Education - This report addresses the potential of the community school movement to concentrate supports and resources in low-wealth rural schools and build the kind of community-school partnerships that help children, their families, the school and the community succeed and thrive. The paper also includes profiles of three communities that have applied the concept in their schools. (Center for American Progress, September 2010)...

The Rural Dropout Problem: An Invisible Achievement Gap - This report reviews high school dropout rates and related factors in rural high schools throughout 15 Southern and Southwestern states. These schools are in districts that are among the 800 rural districts with the highest student poverty rate nationally. Seventy-seven percent of the "Rural 800" districts and 87% of the students in them are in these 15 targeted states. These high-poverty rural school districts are more racially and ethnically diverse than all other rural school districts and all other districts of any kind. Nearly three in five of the students in these districts are people of color. (Rural School and Community Trust, May 2010)...

Bitter Pill, Better Formula: Toward a Single, Fair and Equitable Formula for ESEA Title I, Part A - Federal policymakers and education officials, aware of the potential ferocity of a "formula fight" tread with care when it comes to revising the way Title I, Part A of ESEA distributes funds. But the authors feel the formula driving Title I-A grants require a major overhaul because, in short, they favor wealthy states and enormous school districts. Many schools serving high concentrations of poor students are being shortchanged. (Center for American Progress, February 2010)...

Meeting the Challenge of Rural Pre-K - This brief from Pre-K Now lays out the need for greater accessibility to high-quality pre-k in rural communities and proposes a range of policy options that the federal government can consider to address challenges like transportation and facilities and promote collaborations with Head Start. (Matthew Smith, Kathy Patterson and Libby Doggett, Pre-K Now, May 2008)...


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