Most Rural Ed. Programs Are Developed in Urban Schools. These Research Centers Want to Change That

February 6, 2019

An Education Week blog discusses how the National Center for Rural Effectiveness will utilize the Proving Ground approach to test interventions in rural school districts.

Chronic absenteeism. College preparation. Student mental health. Hot education issues all, and none of them lack for research and programs. But often the interventions proven to work in large urban or suburban districts fall flat in small rural districts, and most of those districts lack the capacity to develop and test out their own solutions.

"That's been going on in a lot of education policies," said Tom Kane, Harvard economics and education professor. "The research is done in urban and suburban areas and we don't stop to learn whether those same things are effective in rural areas."

That's why the Institute of Education Sciences is providing $10 million each to launch the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks at Harvard University and the National Center for Rural School Mental Health at the University of Missouri.

The research networks center will work during the next five years with 60 rural districts in New York and Ohio to develop and test interventions to reduce student absenteeism and improve college-going among rural students. For example, the center may look at how students' distance to school affects their absenteeism, or how outreach from universities can target high-achieving rural students.The center also plans to evaluate Proving Ground, a school improvement program that has shown benefits in urban and suburban schools but which has never been tested in rural schools.


Continue reading at Education Week.