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Kelly Robson

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Kelly Robson
Associate Partner
Policy and Evaluation

Background: Kelly Robson is an associate partner with Bellwether Education Partners. Since joining the Policy and Evaluation team in 2013, Kelly has worked on a variety of issues including public school choice, private school choice, city-level reform efforts, and policies impacting disrupted youth, in particular homeless youth. Her work has been featured in The 74, Philanthropy Magazine, and elsewhere. Prior to joining Bellwether, Kelly taught middle school English and history in Westerville City Schools in Westerville, Ohio and in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Kelly holds a B.A. with honors and a master’s degree in education from The Ohio State University and a doctorate in education policy from George Washington University.

Experience at Bellwether: policy research and analysis, data analysis, long- and short-form writing

Client segments served: foundations, intermediaries, think tanks, human capital organizations

Sample clients: Philanthropy Roundtable, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, BLUUM, Carnegie Foundation

Why I do this work: I went into education because I believe that a quality education is one of the most powerful tools a child can acquire; yet my five years in the classroom revealed firsthand the stark contrast in educational quality and experience that we offer to children in this country. I am passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to a quality education that meets their individual needs and prepares them for a successful future.

Recent Media

Publication
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 proportion of America’s school population. Despite increased attention from the national education policy community in recent years, too many rural communities and schools continue to struggle to provide their students with quality educational opportunities. Common approaches to education reform that may work in urban communities often fail to take into account the unique assets and challenges facing rural schools.

"Wide-Open Spaces: Schooling in Rural America Today” provides education policymakers with a factbase on America’s rural schools and communities: the economic and academic challenges they face, their unique assets, and opportunities for improvement. This resource highlights some of the challenges facing schools and students, including limited economic opportunity, poor access to healthcare, and social challenges like drug addiction. It also provides an overview of available data on student outcomes, including National Assessment of Educational Progress data and graduation rates. These data reveal that while rural students appear to be doing better on average than students in some other geographies, there are real gaps among subgroups and barriers to postsecondary opportunities that hinder many rural students from achieving their full academic potential.

Even so, rural communities’ assets provide opportunities to create and sustain meaningful change. Compared with other geographies, rural communities tend to place high value on civic and community engagement and support tight-knit networks among residents. Community members tend to have a deep sense of and commitment to place that dates back generations. And at a state and national level, rural communities represent a powerful political voice.

"Wide-Open Spaces: Schooling in Rural America Today"
aims to equip advocates, decision-makers, and other stakeholders with a shared understanding of rural education to generate a more accurate and nuanced policy response.

Title image for Bellwether publication