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ERIC Number: ED388464
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Culture, Community, and the Promise of Rural Education.
Theobald, Paul; Nachtigal, Paul
Traditionally, rural schools have been tightly linked to their communities, and the process of schooling has reflected local values, mores, and ways of life. However, during the early 1900s, the beginning of the Progressive era, allegiance to local ways received heavy criticism. An inherent assumption, that bigger is better, was promoted as the way schools should be. Today, this assumption continues to influence the "one best system" for educating children. The study of history and philosophy reveals that industrial tenets affecting education such as specialization, standardization, centralization, technological efficiency, reliance on experts, and the reduction of the production process to its lowest skill elements were not the product of natural evolution, but merely decisions made by people with power and an agenda for its use. Eroding quality of life in both rural and urban settings, as well as mean-spirited ideological battles over school reform, signify a rapidly deteriorating sense of community. One way to reverse this trend is for society to adopt a new set of cultural assumptions that reinvents political systems, promotes sustainability, and rebuilds both urban and rural communities. Recreating communities requires redesigning education and begins with focusing on the local context of education. Focusing on the community makes learning relevant and therefore more powerful in providing youth with an understanding of who they are and what their place is in the world. For change to happen, rural residents need to recognize how cultural assumptions have disempowered them both politically and economically and to understand that the viability of both rural and urban communities requires cooperation, that this philosophy begins in schools, and that the educational agenda must return to a local focus. Contains 13 notes. (LP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A