More often than not, policymakers focus on school-based strategies to spur improvements in the educational progress of students. The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, which demands greater school accountability for student performance, is a case in point. Yet, what happens in the classroom is only part of the story.
In fact, as Lionel J. Beaulieu, Glenn D. Israel and Ronald C. Wimberley show in their chapter in "Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty-First Century", family characteristics have from 5 to 10 times as much impact as school characteristics on reading and math scores of rural U.S. eighth graders.
In addition, community characteristics have as much impact as school characteristics on test scores, although both community and chool characteristics tend to be more important in geographically isolated rural areas than those adjacent to metropolitan areas. Clearly, helping rural youth succeed academically is the collective responsibility of families, schools, and communities.
This issue brief is a joint product of the Rural Sociological Society and the National Coalition for Rural Entrepreneurship, a collaboration of four Regional Rural Development Centers: The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, the Southern Rural Development Center, the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, and the Western Rural Development Center. Funding was also made available from the Ford Foundation.
This brief is part of a policy brief series by the Rural Sociological Society and the Regional Rural Development Centers that stresses the importance of community collective action and developing the capacity of people and organizations to meet the community's needs
The Rural Sociological Society and the Regional Rural Development Centers creates new Public Policy Issue Brief series based on its recent book, "Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty-First Century".
The briefs synthesize the context and substance of important issues raised in the book and address alternative policy options, with the goal of bringing important research to the policy community.