Virtual School Meanderings

August 4, 2010

REL-Midwest – Framing the Conversation: Enhancing the Educational Outcomes of Rural Children Through Distance Learning and Technology

So, the first session at the REL-Midwest: Online Learning Opportunities For Rural Schools event was a discussion on the topic “Framing the Conversation: Enhancing the Educational Outcomes of Rural Children Through Distance Learning and Technology” that began with some comments by Doris Terry Williams, the Director of Capacity Building for the Rural School and Community Trust.

Doris began with some quick facts about rural education.

  • 19.4% of all students attend at rural school
  • 10, 572, 790 students and counting (rural school enrollment is actually increasing)
  • 32.3% of public elementary and secondary schools are designates as rural
    • range from 9.5% of all schools in New Jersey are rural to 97+% in South Dakota
    • 15 states have 50% or more of their schools designated as rural
  • rural students have higher graduation rates
    • 70% overall in rural districts
    • 67% in all districts
    • 60% in the poorest rural districts
  • less per pupil funding for rural districts
    • $9,611 in non-rural districts
    • $8,134 in rural districts
  • and many others that skipped across the screen before I was able to type them

Many of the points that I missed dealt with the connection between rural education and educating lower socio-economic status students.

On one of the final slides, entitled “Bottom Line…” it read:

Rural students, like all others, are entitled to a quality education- even if their local communities cannot afford or don’t have the will to provide it.

Appropriate use of technology and distance education is one means of ensuring that they have greater access.

At that stage, the moderator introduced Matt Irvin of the National Research Center on Rural Education Support (and I’ll discuss his keynote in my next blog entry).

This entry is re-posted at REL-Midwest – Framing the Conversation: Enhancing the Educational Outcomes of Rural Children Through Distance Learning and Technology on AERA Rural Education SIG blog.

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