ERIC Number: ED309909
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-May
Reference Count: N/A
Challenging the Comfortable Stereotypes: Rural Education and Rural Development.
Sher, Jonathan P.
This paper discusses the question of standardization and educational equity among rural school systems and offers three "fundamental challenges" for educators. The first challenge is to take seriously the power of education and to resist the temptation to reduce expectations placed on education and educators. The power of education is illustrated through the comparison to a knife, which can be used for good or evil. The second challenge is for educators to resist the trivialization of educational power. Classroom methods and labels such as "at-risk students" tend to blame students for what are societal or system failures. A sense of "condemned future" is created, causing students, teachers, and parents to become disengaged or drop out of the educational process. The responsibility for "at-risk" students should be placed on educators, who might better see the dropout problem as "a massive, unorganized and, as yet, undeclared boycott of public education." Traditional solutions to the dropout problem (advertising, inschool suspensions, and dropout prevention counselors) do not respond to the causes. The third challenge is to make use of current opportunities to reverse the decline of rural education. A core of good people, an opportune moment in history, and a body of new ideas help to make the horizon brighter. Challenging projects are being undertaken across the country. This paper concludes by telling educators that the power of education and the power for educational change is in their hands. (TES)
Descriptors: Dropouts, Educational Assessment, Educational Attitudes, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Educational Opportunities, Educational Responsibility, Elementary Secondary Education, Rural Education, Rural Schools, Teacher Role
Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Inc., P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325 ($3.50 prepaid).
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Appalachia Educational Lab., Charleston, WV.
Note: Revised transcript of a paper presented at the Symposium "Risky Futures: Should State Policy Reflect Rural Diversity?" sponsored by AEL's Policy and Planning Center (Louisville, KY, December 4-5, 1988).