Diving Into the Rural Ed. Beat

By Jackie Mader — April 08, 2014 1 min read
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I’m thrilled to take on the Rural Education blog and follow in the footsteps of Diette Courrégé Casey, who has covered the gamut of events and issues in the field so well for the past three years.

I remember the day I decided to make a career switch from teaching at an urban North Carolina middle school to writing about education. My school was in the midst of closing, and I was weighing my career options when I stumbled upon a poignant article about the lives of two boys growing up in the community where I taught. It was the first article I read that truly illuminated the challenges that I had seen as a teacher, and it sparked my interest in journalism as a way to contribute to the public discourse surrounding education.

At the end of my teaching tenure, I spent a summer working at a high school in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and immediately became intrigued by rural education. I saw firsthand the unique challenges of teaching in a rural context, as well as the critical role that the schools play in remote communities. Each morning, bleary-eyed children would file off of the school bus, often after an hour-long ride, eager to learn. They had the same ambitions and potential as my students in urban North Carolina, but had far fewer resources. That school was their main lifeline to greater opportunity. I’m excited to delve into these challenges--as well as solutions and successes--on this blog.

As a Mississippi-based staff writer for The Hechinger Report, I have covered rural and urban schools across the country, with an emphasis on education in Mississippi. I have learned a great deal about rural education here in the South, and I’m looking forward to expanding that knowledge and learning even more with the help of readers like you.

I hope that this blog continues to present a relevant and enlightening look at rural education, and I’d love to have your input. Please don’t hesitate to send your thoughts, questions, and ideas my way!

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.