Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Urban schools could learn from rural counterparts

While rural schools are often shortchanged by current federal education policies, they "routinely use practices that could be useful to boosting student performance in their urban and suburban counterparts," says a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education. One third of the nation’s high schools are rural, and one in five children attends a rural school, the report says. That finding was part of the report's examination of "Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers: What Federal Policymakers Need to Know."(Fact Sheet)

The alliance describes itself as "national policy and advocacy organization that works to make every child a high school graduate - to prepare them for college, work, and to be contributing members of society." The report explains at-risk students in rural schools are less likely to be overlooked and "successful rural high schools have utilized online courses and other distance learning to expand advanced learning opportunities for their students."

"America’s rural high schools offer solutions, but they also face challenges," Bob Wise, president of the alliance and former governor of West Virginia, said in a news release. "Most of the recent debate on high school reform at the federal level has not involved rural schools, but when one out of every four rural students fails to graduate from high school, it’s not just a ‘local’ issue, it’s a national crisis. No longer can our nation write off large numbers of children, whether by race or by geography, and still meet the steadily growing skill demands of the 21st century." (Read more, from Maureen Downey's blog post for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

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