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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

October 11, 2016
The Atlantic -- In a small marine community in Maine, the crustaceans have long been a key to economic livelihood—but now, they're entering education...
December 31, 2014
Lars D. Johnson, Ashley LiBetti Mitchel, Andrew J. Rotherham
Many administrators and educators in rural America believe federal education policy is not designed for rural districts, and that consideration of...
January 29, 2014
By Andy Smarick
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Student achievement results in our nation’s most remote areas look very similar to those in our inner cities — heartbreakingly low...

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...