No Rural Cachet

Last Updated: June 25, 2011

This article appeared in the June 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

“There is no cachet in studying rural areas…. If you are studying rural communities or rural problems you are not getting any cachet or the attention [you would get] studying other places.”

That’s the blunt assessment of the federal role in rural education research presented by Dr. Mark S. Schneider to an American Enterprise Institute gathering on May 23 in Washington, D.C. Schneider is a vice-president of the American Institutes of Research and former Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.

A quick review of the agenda for the April 2011 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association supports Schneider’s assessment. During the 2,000 conference sessions, each with multiple presentations, there were about 40 papers or posters presented on a subject involving rural education.

About half of these papers were in a paltry four sessions actually devoted to a rural theme. The rest were scattered among other sessions on other topics. Most rural papers were case studies, and an estimated one-fourth were about rural education in Canada, England, or developing countries. Of the 13,000 research scholars attending this event, fewer than 30 attended the Rural Special Interest Group segment.

Read more from the June 2011 Rural Policy Matters.