Breaking New Ground in Rural Education

Paul T. Hill – November 2014

Paul T. Hill, founder and former director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education and chair of the ROCI Task Force, argues that rural education matters—but has been on the back burner for too long.

He offers three reasons why rural education should be a priority for state and federal policymakers as well as philanthropies interested in education:

  • Schools in rural areas educate millions of students.
  • Rural students are less likely than urban peers to attend college or enroll in professional or graduate programs. They’re also less likely to be employed or engaged in training.
  • Rural communities matter. These are areas where American ideals of self-governance by small groups of neighbors and local problem solving by collective action are most often practiced.

Hill also provides a crash course in rural education, offering background information and a framework for ROCI papers to come. This includes:

  • A deep dive into definitions of “rural”
  • A discussion of the connection between the health of the rural economy, a community’s schools, and the opportunities available to its students
  • An exploration of what “place-based” means in rural education, from a prescription for courses that incorporate local issues and hometown histories to a more radical interpretation that would have schools resist state standards and testing requirements
  • An acknowledgement that while many scholars in rural education critique federal policies, they must also recognize the necessity of preparing students to achieve success in college or career

Full Report

Blog Post by Andy Smarick