Thursday, April 20, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: Are Charters a Rural Solution

CURMUDGUCATION: Are Charters a Rural Solution:

Are Charters a Rural Solution

In a piece that has circulated a bit, Karen Eppley, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at Pennsylvania State University suggests that charter schools might be the solution to many rural education problems.

While the article is not as gung-ho about charters as the title suggests (I know-- writers rarely get to pick their own headline), it still misses some critical points.

According to this 2013-2014 report from the Rural School and Community Trust, about a third of our schools are rural, and about one in five students attend a rural school. So this is worth discussing. Eppley wryly notes that Betsy DeVos brought attention to rural education with her observation about bear protection in Wapiti, Wyoming, but her policy goals might have a more far-reaching effect. Fair enough.

Eppley touts her rural bona fides and notes that rural education has been an important part of rural American life. She's got that right-- my own children attended little Utica Elementary, a school that, along with the volunteer fire department hall, served as a community center. On the night that the school held its talent show, art show, and ice cream social, everyone in the village would be there, whether they had a child in the school or not.

Despite the positive impacts of schools on rural communities, 150,000 rural schools have been eliminated through closure or consolidation since 1930. Rural schools are closed primarily in response to budget cuts and low enrollment.

Eppley's correct, though by going back to 1930 she oversells her case. As she should already know
CURMUDGUCATION: Are Charters a Rural Solution:

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