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Rural Education

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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One in four students in the United States attends a rural school. These schools face unique challenges, including small talent pools, fewer economies of scale, and limited access to broadband. Additionally, federal and/or state policies are often misaligned to rural contexts, where tightly knit communities value personal relationships, local problem solving, and self-governance.
 
Bellwether’s work seeks to draw attention to the unique needs of rural schools, teachers, and students in order to help all rural students expand their horizons and reach their potential. As former conveners of the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho, we brought together the nation’s leading education thinkers to build the knowledge base about rural schools. This group studied and developed innovative policy recommendations on myriad issues in rural education, including the ties between education and economic development, the rigor of rural high schools, dual enrollment programs, and strategies for serving migrant Hispanic students. We also provide advising and strategic planning support to nonprofits and school operators seeking to expand their impact in rural communities.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

December 4, 2019
Kelly Robson, Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Juliet Squire, Jeff Schulz
Fourteen percent of the nation’s population lives in rural communities, and one in five K-12 students attends a rural school — a substantial...
September 10, 2019
Kelly Robson, Brandon Lewis, Juliet Squire
When rural charter schools succeed, what conditions enable their results? Local Roots Take the Lead is a new website from Bellwether Education...
July 23, 2019
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Katrina Boone, Juliet Squire , Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Every day, America’s fleet of roughly 480,000 school buses transports about a third of students to and from school. This fleet is more than twice the...
May 22, 2019
Kelly Robson, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Justin Trinidad
Any movement serious about improving outcomes for underserved young people must include the South. It is the fastest-growing region in the country...
January 22, 2019
Ashley LiBetti, Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Brandon Lewis, Kirsten Schmitz
Charter schools currently serve 3 million students in more than 7,000 schools across 44 states and Washington, D.C. And their reach continues to grow...

Blog Posts

December 5, 2019
Kelly Robson
From lobsters to bikes to HBCUs, Bellwether has covered a breadth of topics tied to rural education over the last six years. While we are...
November 25, 2019
Allison Crean Davis
Collaborating across teams sounds simple, but it’s not easy, and it has even been described as “dangerous.”  When organizations and...
October 22, 2019
Alex Spurrier
When I was a teacher in Connecticut, most of my students walked to school. I taught just a few blocks from downtown, so that made walking a...