Education

Struggling to Survive in Era of Dwindling Resources

By Diette Courrégé Casey — May 10, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Sharing administrative and instructional services across rural districts can be a good compromise between autonomy and consolidation, according to a new study published in the Journal of Research in Rural Education.

That said, researchers found that some shared services worked better than others—distance education was a plus because it gave students more access without stressing teachers, but sharing teachers among schools seemed to do the opposite, straining morale and effectiveness.

“Stretching to Survive: District Autonomy in an Age of Dwindling Resources” was a case study on a four-district collaboration that had been in existence for more than 15 years. The study’s authors were: Aimee Howley of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio;, Marged Howley of Oz Educational Consulting in Australia; Katie Hendrickson of Ohio University; Johnny Belcher of Pikeville High School in Pikeville, Ky.; and Craig Howley of Ohio University.

The study didn’t identify the involved districts and instead used the pseudonym “Confluence Collaborative.” The research is part of a larger investigation of seven districts nationally. All of the districts involved were suffering from a loss of students and resources, and they formed the collaborative to avoid consolidation and preserve their identities.

Researchers found two broad themes: tenacity in the face of decline, and strategies with limited sustainability.

On the issue of resources, some sharing efforts didn’t work well. For example, the quality of textbooks and materials varied by district, and the collaborative could do little to help.

The collaborative also worked together to help districts deliver curriculum to students, which meant using distance learning, relocating teachers, and dividing teachers and administrators among schools. Many spoke highly of distance education, but neither teachers nor students saw any of the methods as adequate.

Researchers cautioned that their findings shouldn’t be used as recommendations for other districts but said the collaborative provided a powerful example of the resourcefulness of rural districts.

They also noted that “sharing of buildings through school consolidation was the inevitable next step. This finding fits with research showing that shared services in rural locales—a strategy initially used to forestall reorganization—often leads to consolidation.”

They suggested future research could look at what makes these collaboratives successful over a long period of time as well as how the community responds to these kinds of arrangements.

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


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP