ERIC Number: ED405165
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-25
Reference Count: N/A
Sustainable Small Schools in the Rural U.S.: Construct and Exploratory Analysis.
Howley, Craig B.; Harmon, Hobart
This paper uses data from a survey of K-12 unit schools to fashion a measure of small school sustainability and relate it to variables pertinent to the rural context. Drawing on definitions of sustainable development and sustainable agriculture, this study proposes sustainability as a concept appropriate to schooling in general, and to small rural schools in specific. Data analysis is illustrative and exploratory. Superintendents of 159 school districts containing 205 K-12 schools completed an extensive survey covering demography, educational opportunities, special education, extracurricular activities, staffing, distance learning technology, fiscal practices, community attitudes, and political dilemmas. The first task of exploratory analysis was the classification of 27 variables in the data set as reflecting practices plausibly related to 3 commitments of a centrist definition of sustainability (conservation, stewardship, long-term vitality). Descriptive statistics and a factor analysis describe the dependent variable (sustainability). From the contextual data provided by superintendents, 13 possible independent variables were selected and then narrowed to 8. These predictor variables explained 40 percent and 15 percent of the variance in sustainability in K-12 schools in multi-school districts and single-school districts, respectively. The differences between these two groups related principally to "economy of place," a composite variable of geographic location, economic base, local control, and local fiscal contribution. Analyses suggest sustainability can be related to features of the rural circumstance. Recommendations for further work are included. Contains 29 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Appalachia Educational Lab., Charleston, WV.