I’m so grateful for the chance to cover rural education for Education Week. I hope this blog has been and continues to be a relevant, informative gathering place. As 2012 comes to a close, here’s a look at the five posts you read most in the past year.
It’s no surprise that you were interested in learning more about what the nation’s education chief had to say about his rural education priorities. This post covered a speech that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made in April about his rural ed agenda. Duncan centered on four areas: teachers, capacity, technology and college access, and talked about programs to further those areas.
The next post on this list likely drew some additional traffic because of its subject matter: special education. A study published in the Rural Special Education Quarterly found peer-mediation instruction and intervention programs could be good options for rural schools looking to address autistic students’ communication and social needs. The study had little quantitative feedback, but qualitative feedback indicated such efforts were beneficial to students with and without autism.
This post featured some analysis by rural advocates who found that rural Americans had largely improved their educational attainment in the past 40 years. Still, the gap between rural and urban residents with college degrees was growing, and that’s a serious concern that carries economic consequences. Improved education generally means higher wages and less unemployment, according to a follow-up analysis.
Coming in at No. 2 was a post on a study that described teachers as an untapped, powerful asset that can spark school-based changes. It recapped a journal article looking at a partnership between university faculty and three rural schools. It’s major finding on teachers as assets can be applied to all types of schools, but it has particular truth for rural schools facing diminishing resources.
The most-read Rural Education blog post for 2012 was about a new professional-development model created at a rural school to help create teacher leaders. This model has core beliefs such as “high-quality professional development begins with the principal” and “peer coaching is essential.” Like the previous post, those findings seem to have universal applicability, which is perhaps why more readers (and a broader audience) checked out this entry.
I’ll be taking a brief break until Jan. 2. Until then, Happy New Year!
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.