The close-knit, personal nature of small rural communities results in school and community operating as a single integrated social structure. Useful rural school improvement strategies must, therefore, address needs that are recognized by both the local school and the community and must operate in a style congruent with the local setting. Although outside ideas and resources may contribute greatly to successful plans to improve rural schools, a high level of local involvement is essential in determining the specifics of those plans. This is clearly demonstrated by the thirteen case studies presented in this book, in which the strategies that have been effective over time in resolving rural school problems are distinguished by a high degree of local participation. The cases–chosen to provide good examples of particular strategies and also to represent the diversity that characterizes rural America–cover centrally designed, heavily funded programs as well as small-scale, locally initiated efforts in such areas as teacher training, the introduction of new curricula, and community participation in education decision making and political action. The final chapters analyze the case studies in practical terms and recommend policy and practice for future rural school improvement.
Table of Contents
Also of Interest -- Preface -- Rural Education in America: Some Background -- Education in Rural America: An Overview -- Rural School Improvement Efforts: An Interpretive History -- A Montage of Rural Education Improvement Efforts -- “Going Open” in North Dakota: The New School for Behavioral Studies in Education -- The Teacher Corps in Mississippi: Washington Strategy Against Delta Dilemmas -- Natives and Newcomers: Vermont’s Mountain Towns Teachers’ Center -- Holistic Change: The Experimental Schools Program in Oregon -- Taking Education to the Crossroads: Texas’s Regional Education Service Centers -- Getting on the Bandwagon: Maine Schools Discover the National Diffusion Network -- The Urban/Rural Program: Can the Government Buy Change in Rural Schools? -- San Juan, Utah: Ending a White-Indian School Battle by the “Process Method” -- The Leadership Development Program: Facilitating New Leadership for Rural Education -- “Have You Considered Reorganization?” Iowa’s People United for Rural Education -- Elk River, Idaho: The Pursuit of Quality Schooling in a Threatened Community -- Gary, Texas: The Rise of Loblolly -- Staples, Minnesota: Improving the Schools to Save the Town -- Interpreting the Montage -- Rural America: Multiple Realities -- What Worked and Why -- One Practitioner’s Notes -- Theme V: Accepting Rural Reality
Paul M. Nachtigal is director of the Rural Education Project at the Mid-continent Regional Education Laboratory. Prior to working on the study encompassed by this book, he was a project specialist with the Ford Foundation and served as superintendent of schools in several Colorado communities.