Tag: Rural Schools

Rural schools need equity too.

Rural Schools Need Equity Too

I just got home from a convening with the rest of the Kentucky State Teacher Fellows, where we had some long, tough conversations on equity in our schools. We’re preparing for later this fall, when schools across the Bluegrass are going to witness a major data collection blast from education groups and teacher leaders. The reason is simple: Kentucky is…

Want More Rural Students To Be Lifelong Learners? Give Them More Opportunities.

One of the best baseball movies I’ve seen is Moneyball with Brad Pitt. There’s this scene where Pitt’s character had just brought in an economics wiz and baseball fanatic from Yale, played by Jonah Hill. Using statistics, they were going to build a winning team. It was unconventional at the time. During a tense conversation, one of Pitt’s employees, a…

In Rural Areas, Education Means More

What’s white and red and would have been worth thousands in the 18th century? Yep, a Coke can. As it turns out, pure aluminum used to be one of the most prized metals in the world. Aluminum was once so valuable, in fact, that the government of France used to display Fort Knox-style bars of aluminum next to the French…

Live From Rural Kentucky, It’s The Belief Gap!

Mass media has an unmistakable impact on our impressions of people and places. Take, for example, shows like Baywatch and 90210, which color our perceptions of Los Angeles. When I think of the City of Angels, I see endless sunshine, luxury, and Kardashian-esque mansions. When I think of The Big Apple, songs like Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and Alicia…

The Rural-Urban Divide: Responses To School Shootings Show Us Two Sides Of America

When then-candidate Barack Obama was still seeking the Democratic nomination back in 2008, one of his most notable gaffes of the primary campaign trail was an ill-worded assessment of blue-collar culture. Speaking to a wealthy fundraiser crowd, Obama suggested that rural residents of Pennsylvania were bitter, and that they were inclined to “cling to guns or religion” as a result…

Should Teachers Get A Bonus For Working In Struggling Schools?

Discussion sparked last week as an op-ed surfaced in The Courier-Journal, pulling no punches: “We’ve set up a system throughout Kentucky, and particularly in JCPS, that fails our most vulnerable students and hamstrings our lowest-performing schools, known as priority schools.” There’s a reason behind why some schools are stagnant, author Kent Oyler posits, though that reason has been buried beneath…

Illusion of ESSA Flexibility Fades as Federal Reviews Clarify Prescriptive Nature of New Education Law

In a recent speech she titled “Tough Love,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said states’ plans for holding schools accountable for progress in student achievement under the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are not ambitious enough, lacking innovation, and not taking full advantage of the law’s flexibilities. While I am certain no state plan is perfect in…

This Is What It Means To Be #MarshallStrong

It’s been nearly a month since the shooting at Marshall County High School, but in the wake of national conversations on gun control, mental health, and school safety, it’s not getting any easier for us Kentuckians to shake the memories. In the past weeks, we’ve witnessed a tragedy beyond comprehension. I teach just two counties over from Marshall, but I…

Personalized Learning Could Help Save Rural Schools, If We Let it

Personalized learning is all the rage right now for those of us who speak education. The idea is basically that teachers can use educational technology to tailor a students’ learning experience to focus on their abilities, interests, or prior knowledge in ways that traditional teaching methods simply can’t. So, if a student already has a pretty solid understanding of a…

We Need To Talk About Teacher Turnover in Rural America

I came across an article last week about the schools in rural McDowell County, West Virginia, where daily school life is grinding. Teacher and substitute shortages there are chronic and turnover is high nearly every year. Poverty is widespread, and it’s not uncommon for students to lose parents and loved ones to drug abuse. For the teachers who manage to…

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