Building Strong Rural Schools in South Carolina: The Foundations We Need.Report as inadecuate

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During 2001, rural people from across South Carolina met to discuss how their schools are faring in the new environment of increased accountability and testing. This report identifies six foundations that are essential for building stronger rural schools. Eliminating poverty and improving the health and overall well-being of rural residents could be the best rural development and school improvement strategy available. All students, including those at risk of academic exclusion, should be learning in a positive environment. All students should achieve at high levels, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. All teachers should be provided with the tools they need to remain in the field and be successful with all students. As the closest link between rural communities and local school policy, school boards must have an in-depth understanding of the educational needs and challenges of their students. Education policymakers should provide the funding necessary for a first-rate education. Recommendations include focusing economic development strategies on improving the standard of living in rural communities; reevaluating school discipline policies to reduce the disproportionately high number of minority student exclusions; eliminating the achievement gap on standardized tests and ensuring that special education and gifted enrollments more closely reflect the general student population; implementing ongoing diversity training for teachers; electing all school board members; and determining the true per-pupil cost of meeting state and federal educational standards. (Contains 29 references) (TD)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Change Strategies, Educational Environment, Educational Finance, Educational Needs, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, High Risk Students, Minority Groups, Policy Analysis, Poverty, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, School Support

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Author: Rural School and Community Trust, Washington, DC.


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