Efforts Will Target the Unique Education Challenges Facing Rural North Carolina’s Students

RALEIGH, NC (October 30, 2019) – Stakeholders representing business, education, government, academia and the non-profit community gathered at Research Triangle Park Headquarters on Wednesday, October 30 to launch Study Group XVII,  which will examine the unique education challenges facing students across rural North Carolina. The event featured introductions and a presentation from Alan Richard, education writer, policy consultant and board member of the Rural School and Community Trust; a discussion of key themes that will inform the Study Group’s topic; and a call to action from the Forum’s Senior Director of Policy, Dr. Lauren Fox, who will lead the work of Study Group XVII.  

Continuing the Forum’s practice of bringing together thought leaders from a myriad of industries to distill collective knowledge on major, timely education issues, the Forum will embark on its seventeenth study group this fall to consider what it would take to provide every student in rural North Carolina the opportunity to receive a sound basic education. By convening subject-matter experts across North Carolina, the study group’s efforts will tackle one of our Top Ten Issues for 2019 by identifying new ways to address the needs of rural students and schools from school funding challenges, to improving rural teacher recruitment and retention strategies, and how to tackle the broadband access gap for our rural students, as well as other key considerations. 

The Forum is fortunate to enlist the help of four esteemed leaders who each work on rural issues in North Carolina to serve as co-chairs of Study Group XVII:

  • Dr. Shirley Carraway, Retired Superintendent
  • Dr. Jeni Corn, MyFutureNC
  • Dr. Doris Terry Williams, Principal Consultant and former Executive Director of the Rural School and Community Trust
  • Patrick Woodie, President of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center

North Carolina is home to 568,000 rural students, the second largest rural student population in the United States, after Texas. Eighty of North Carolina’s 100 counties are classified as rural – 40 percent of all NC public school students reside in rural counties – and 87 of the state’s 115 traditional K-12 public school districts are located in rural counties. North Carolina’s rural schools serve a significantly racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse student population; 41 percent of rural students in North Carolina are students of color (ranked 10th most racially diverse in the country) and 5.7 percent are English language learners (ranked 9th in the country). 

The next Study Group engagement sessions will be held on November 25th in Edgecombe and Rutherford counties. The work of the Study Group will continue throughout the 2019-20 year and culminate in a Spring 2020 report cataloguing findings and recommendations on how to target rural North Carolina’s unique education challenges. 

We invite anyone interested in participating in the Study Group to sign up here. For more information about Study Group XVII, please contact Dr. Lauren Fox at lfox@ncforum.org or 919-781-6833 x104.

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About the Public School Forum of North Carolina

Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at http://www.ncforum.org/

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