No Longer Forgotten: The Triumphs and Struggles of Rural Education in America 

Dear Superintendents,

Over the past eighteen months it’s been a privilege to contribute to a book project about rural education. The book, No Longer Forgotten: The Triumphs and Struggles of Rural Education in America was released earlier this week. I am grateful to have taught in a rural Wyoming school (Hulett) and believe our smallest communities have more strengths than challenges. My small town experiences are with me in every policy discussion as State Superintendent. Here are a few takeaways from the book and panel:

  • There is no consistent definition for “rural” except “areas that are not urban.” Rurality is defined at least 72 different ways by the federal government.
  • Think tanks, majorities, and education philanthropies are located in cities. This is just one of many reasons rural education reform doesn’t usually gain traction.
  • While diverse yet undefined rural “regions” exist (deep south, northeast, midwest, west, southwest), rural areas and schools have much in common especially around pride in schools, social cohesion, shared values, and parental involvement.

If you are interested in watching the panel, here is the link:

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/events/no-longer-forgotten-the-triumphs-and-struggles-of-rural-education-in-america-book-talk-and-panel/

Here is an article summarizing a few main ideas from the book:

https://www.educationnext.org/improve-rural-schools-focus-on-strengths-facilitate-school-choice-charter-conversions-solutions/

This week at the annual Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) convening we had many discussions about Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). I wanted to share three diverse documents on the topic because I know we all (leaders, school boards, parents, and teachers) are thinking about the SEL issues, such mental health, and its role education. None of the documents come with a specific endorsement from me other than having found each one insightful and thought-provoking:

Setting the Right Conditions for Learning

From a Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope

What SEL Needs to Survive

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STEM Teacher and State Board member, Ryan Fuhrman, engages in discussion with the computer science standards committee in Lander this week. The committee is reworking and refining the standards.

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Who says you can’t be two places at once? I greeted the computer science standards committee via video from my meetings in Washington, DC.

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It was so much fun to interview Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of code.org, on-stage after his keynote speech at the CCSSO opening dinner.

THERE ARE NO MEMOS THIS WEEK.

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