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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Schools serve rural students

Though the Monroe County Community School Corporation is not a rural district, MCCSC experiences challenges in teaching students in rural areas.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 23 percent of United States students attend rural schools. Rural areas, defined generally as five miles or farther from an urbanized area, face difficulties in getting resources to students.

While at the Ohio Department of Education Rural Education National Forum on Oct. 31, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he wants to make sure rural education is not falling behind the rest of the country.

“Too often the challenges of rural education are neglected,” Duncan said.
MCCSC Director of Secondary Education Janice Bergeson said MCCSC serves a portion of students that live in rural areas and faces issues associated with rural education.

She noted Unionville Elementary School as one of the more rural schools, located off of State Road 45.

“We do have some more rural schools, and they do have specific challenges,” Bergeson said.

Duncan said there are many issues associated with educating students in places far away from cities and their networks of technology and manpower.

A large hurdle rural education must jump is access to the Internet, vital today for off-site access to knowledge.

“A high-speed Internet connection can enable rural students to take online courses and gain access to cutting-edge research at universities,” Duncan said.

Bergeson said MCCSC has stressed Internet connection for all its students.

“We know they need access to the Internet, so we’ve focused on that,” Bergeson said. “Even our outlying schools have some ability. It’s not perfect, but it’s there.”

Bergeson said MCCSC serves a sizeable portion of outlying students, and getting them all to school can be a hassle.

“It can take up to an hour to get some kids into town,” she said. “Last year we did a study to map over 300 square miles and make routes more efficient. It’s outrageous how many miles our buses travel in a day.”

Duncan said he remains hopeful for rural education in the U.S.

“Our progress over the last four years and the outstanding examples of innovation and capacity-building that I see here today tells me that the narrative of rural education is being rewritten, even as we speak,” he said.

Bergeson said MCCSC has to face rural education challenges no matter how much the U.S. has improved.

“We can’t really change rural education,” she said. “You can’t change where people live. You just have to deal with it.”

Follow reporterStephen Kroll on Twitter @stephenkroll1.

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