Power of Partnerships »

Effective rural partnerships can advance the understanding of public education's role in rural development. This recognition hearkens back to the Congressional Survey Ordinance of 1785, which reserved Lot No. 16 of every township “for the maintenance of public schools within said township.”

Public education is the linchpin issue in rural community development for the following reasons:

  • Education has always been a starting point for meaningful change, both rural and urban.
  • Public school systems are the reasons many small towns still exist, their original agricultural or economic purposes having long passed.
  • The very families coveted by struggling rural communities will not relocate unless they feel the school system is strong.
  • Public school systems are usually one of the largest, if not the largest, employers in rural communities.

For these reasons public education must be at the forefront of rural economic development.

Please explore our work with advocacy groups, community foundations, and institutions of higher education in support of strengthening rural communities.

Advocacy Groups »

Working together to build stronger school communities

People who truly recognize the value of public schools to their respective communities must band together and create a resounding rural voice.

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Community Foundations »

Local assets for local solutions to local problems

There is no better rural development vehicle than a local community foundation. At a time when the impact of rural "outflow" is often devastating, rural community foundations provide strategies, tools, and dialogue that help stem the tide.

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Higher Education »

Public universities and small liberal arts colleges are valuable partners for small schools and rural regions.

A century ago, most public colleges had a rural mission--normal schools that prepared teachers for positions in small towns or country schools. Times have certainly changed, but the nation would benefit from higher education taking a more intentional approach to working in rural places.

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