About the National Rural Education Policy Agenda

Over 100 rural education activists from all across the country have helped draft five position papers on national rural education policy. You can have a hand in drafting them, too.

The process of developing a National Rural Education Policy Agenda from the grassroots up was launched at the 2008 Rural Education Working Group Conference in Tuskegee, Alabama. Five committees were commissioned to draft reports.

Click the titles of the posts below to read each draft report. To add a comment, scroll down this page to the Comments section (rather than on the report itself) and add your voice to the discussion.

The committees will review comments and consider changes before finalizing their report. If you want to join the committee, just say so in your comment.

The reports will be presented and debated at the 2009 REWG meeting April 19-21 at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Get started now! Rural America needs your ideas, too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Student Success

This Committee addresses issues that affect a student’s chances for success in elementary and secondary education, with special emphasis on secondary education. "Success" is defined simply as getting through to graduation, meeting state and local academic standards and prepared to continue to learn in institutions of higher education or in the workplace.

We are especially concerned for those who are at high risk of failure because of disadvantages they bring with them to school, and because of the incapacity of the school to respond adequately to those disadvantages. But we are generally concerned with all students who do not earn a high school diploma that represents a level of achievement that prepares them for productive and fulfilling lives after high school.

We cannot address all of the issues that bear on this area of policy concern. We choose to focus on several:
  • Assessment and the Achievement Gap
  • Teacher Education
  • Discipline
  • Disproportional Identification for Special Education
  • English Language Learners

Read draft of Student Success Committee.

School Funding Issues

Public education is an essential element of a successful democratic society. Suitable funding for public schooling should be considered a fundamental right for every citizen. School funding in a democratic society should not be affected by location and/or size of the school. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Rural schools, due to location and size, face significant financial burdens that are unique to these settings. Individual rights of our citizenry should not be subject to bias and/or limited by the location in which one lives. Therefore, this committee believes that the following funding issues must be addressed if we are to honor, as a nation, some of our most basic democratic beliefs.

Read draft of School Funding Issues Committee.

Environmental Policy

Rural people are usually far removed from the people who have the power to put into place laws that can and sometimes do impact their lives every day. As a result, sparsely populated areas often are more negatively impacted by environmental decisions, ignored and easily accepted as collateral damage.

Rural people need to be educated and organized against the tendency to believe they don’t have a voice or that their voice doesn’t matter. The few people in rural areas who are tapped into the power structure in order to exploit the natural resources to their advantage cannot be allowed to continue negatively impacting the environment for everyone else.

Read draft of Environmental Policy Committee.

Community Revitalization

There’s a real need to engage local people to be problem solvers and provide them with the resources to do so. Help people help themselves. Leadership development is desperately needed—changing perceptions about who can be a leader in local communities, and providing the necessary skills.

Read draft of Community Revitalization Committee.

Curriculum and Instruction

Whether it is an urban, suburban, or rural school district, the mandatory NCLB requirement of recruiting and retaining "highly qualified" teachers is still a very unique and significant challenge for rural school districts.

Read draft of Curriculum and Instruction Committee.