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Solving the Rural Education Gap: Experts Weigh In on New Report’s Findings Tying Gap to Prosperity

The 74 Million – Mareesa Nicosia

“About half of all U.S. public school districts are considered rural, and they collectively enroll some 12 million students, or one-quarter of the total public school population, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Whether these students end up graduating from high school and college, and how they fare in the workforce, is linked inextricably to their rural education experiences, a new report finds. The study, published in April by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, sheds light on the state of rural education and its relationship to economic prosperity in regions of the country that played a pivotal part in President Donald Trump’s election.”(more)

How Maker Mindsets Can Be An Easy Fit For Rural Schools

KQED News Mind/Shift – Leah Shaffer

“The maker movement has expanded greatly in recent years and much of the attention has focused on cities with high population density and large well-funded school districts. In rural districts, teachers are also developing maker projects to help students gain the benefits that come from hands-on experiences, while better understanding the needs of their communities.”(more)

When Kids Create Their Own Playground

The Atlantic – Katherine Martinelli

“Adventure playgrounds aren’t a new concept. Also known as waste-material playgrounds, they were popularized in Europe and the U.K. after World War II, when people realized that kids were playing in bombed-out lots…The primary components of an adventure playground are moveable parts (which can include items like boxes, pipes, paint, hammers, and even saws) and trained, paid grown-up “playworkers,” who oversee and facilitate the play without interfering…Shifts in parenting trends are reviving interest in waste-material playgrounds. So-called helicopter parenting, in which parents hover and rush in at the first sign of distress, is increasingly being called out by authors and researchers writing books and articles about the importance of letting children fail, working out their own problems, and developing independence.​”(more)

Five easy ways urban schools can experiment with outdoor learning

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“Whether it’s hunting for minibeasts in the playing fields or reading a book under a tree, the positive impact of outdoor learning on young people’s achievement and development is widely acknowledged. But what do you do if your school isn’t blessed with acres of green space? From making the most of your playground to venturing further afield, we’ve gathered five tips to help urban schools feel the benefits of taking learning outside.”(more)

7 Secrets Of Successful School Reform – And One Warning

Forbes – Nick Morrison

“London, New York, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Ho Chi Minh City – five very different cities with a common thread: they have all experienced successful education reform. Now researchers have teased out the secrets of that success to identify the shared themes that they believe underpin a reversal in fortunes. While the researchers warn that their findings do not represent a blueprint for reform, they do provide a good starting point for intervention, particularly in an urban setting…A close examination of the progress made in each jurisdiction revealed that despite wide differences in culture, school system and testing regimes, there were seven factors that they held in common:”(more)

The Complications of Educational Returns in Rural America

Education Next – Andy Smarick

“The latest paper from ROCI, our rural ed-reform task force, is a totally fascinating study of the economic “return on schooling,” how much do individuals in a given location benefit financially from higher educational attainment. Although it focuses on Idaho, its lessons are applicable everywhere. In “Economic Returns to Education in Idaho,” Paul A. Lewin and Willem J. Braak begin by calculating that, in the US, an additional year of education currently provides an average return of about 7.7 percent for full-time workers. Good news for sure, but things get more and more interesting the deeper you dig. Between 1929 and 1977, Idaho’s per capita income was near the national average. The recessions of the early 1980s and late 2000s briefly decreased the state’s income level, and the recoveries never returned the state to its original growth path. By 2014, Idaho’s per-capita income was one of the nation’s lowest. Is education the cause? Idaho ranks 46th in the nation in the percentage of high school students going on to college, and its graduation rate from four-year institutions of higher education is among the lowest in the nation.”(more)