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Special report sheds light on rural education
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rural schools and communities in America share an important and often fragile relationship, according to a special report recently released by the Southern Rural Development Center.
"The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America" does not seek to provide definitive answers to the problems facing rural communities. Instead, the report calls attention to the areas in which progress can be made to reverse the trends of urbanization and resource massing that are so devastating to rural America.
A 72-page full-color publication, the report is the result of more than three years of research conducted in partnership by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, the Rural School and Community Trust and the SRDC, which is based at Mississippi State University.
"There continues to be considerable discussion regarding the vital roles that good schools and a well-educated population play in promoting sound, local economic and community development activities," said Robert Gibbs, regional economist for the Economic Research Service. "Recent federal and state efforts designed to tighten learning standards in our public schools are symbolic of the strong links that are believed to exist between education and a healthy local economy."
However, in many areas, providing a strong academic background for a community's students has little effect on the economic status of the area. Lionel J. Beaulieu, SRDC director, said many times these efforts result in a mass exodus of educated future-leaders.
"If rural schools are successful in producing well-educated students, they run the risk of accelerating the exodus of talented youth to the larger cities that offer higher salaries and other important amenities," Beaulieu said. "Certainly, rural areas can attempt to retain these talented individuals by expanding the availability of better paying, higher quality jobs in the locality. But, in far too many rural places, the necessary infrastructure and fiscal resources needed to create or attract such jobs are simply limited."
Available both online and in printed formats, "The Role of Education" is divided into three area-specific sections. The report provides information concerning education, human capital and the local economy; links between rural schools and communities; and creating successful rural schools and students. In all, 15 authors representing nine separate institutions of higher learning contributed to the publication.
To view "The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America" online, visit http://srdc.msstate.edu/publications/ruraleducation.pdf. To request a printed copy, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (662) 325-3207.
The mission of the Southern Rural Development Center is to strengthen the capacity of the region's 29 land-grant institutions to address critical contemporary rural development issues impacting the well being of people and communities in the rural South. The SRDC's southern region is comprised of the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Offices are located in the Bost Extension Center at MSU, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 9656, Mississippi State, MS 39762.
Contact: Jeremy Robbins, (662) 325-3207