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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Rural Reminder

Here are some indicators for those of you who prefer the qualitative approach to understanding rurality.

You might be rural if...
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Thursday, June 19, 2008


June 08 Rural Ed. SIG Newsletter

Summer for many of our members means a fast paced schedule, and the August 1 due date for AERA proposals represents one more deadline. As you submit your proposals, please consider volunteering to review proposals and assist with sessions.

Have a successful summer. See you at the 2009 AERA Annual Meeting, April 13, in San Diego.

Sharon Spall


A Special Interest Group Affiliated with the

American Educational Research Association


Vol. 6, Issue 2 2008 Summer

Letter from the Rural Education SIG Chair

Greetings All,

Many thanks to everyone who participated in our sessions of the Rural Education SIG in New York City this Spring. Thanks to the presenters who gave us many interesting insights to ponder as we return to our various rural places. Thanks to all those who attended the sessions of the SIG and asked probing questions of the presenters. Thanks to Pat Hardre and Kai Schafft for organizing the program, and for all the reviewers who took time out last August to read proposals. And a special thanks to those who attended the SIG business meeting and contributed to a stimulating conversation about the future of research in rural education (see below).

I also want to thank Dennis Mulcahy for serving as Chair of the SIG for the past three years, as well as Kathleen Jorisson, our Secretary/Treasurer, Paul Theobald, our Dissertation Awards Chair, Kristine Reed, our Membership Coordinator, Sharon Spall, our Newsletter Editor, and Michael Barbour, our Website Manager.

It takes the contributions of many people to keep even a small organization like a SIG of AERA going. It was with that in mind that, when Dennis announced he wanted to step down as SIG Chair, I agreed to succeed him. I did so in part because of assurances that other SIG leaders would continue in their current positions, which hopefully will make my transition into the position of chair very smooth. I’ve been an occasional Rural Education SIG presenter (on college access for low income rural students) and proposal reviewer over the last decade or more. But I had not considered serving in any leadership capacity in our SIG until the business meeting this Spring. I had served as newsletter editor for the Family, School, Community Partnership SIG for four years (1993-97), so I felt I knew something of what service in a SIG entails. And I felt that it was my turn to take another leadership position. I hope that when leadership roles in our SIG open up in the future, that you will go through a similar thought process and decide to step forward and help our SIG carry out its program and pursue its goal of improving rural education through research.

Those that gathered for our SIG business meeting last March identified a number of areas in which research in rural education is urgently needed. One underlying theme seems to be that rural areas are changing in a variety of ways, and we need to better understand those changes and their impacts on schools and students. A fundamental change is that young people raised in some rural areas are leaving, even as new immigrants arrive in these or other rural areas. My own home state of Maine is a good example. The overall downward trend in population and school enrollment in rural Maine is being partially offset by Spanish-speaking migrant worker families who have come following the harvests and who are settling down in some of these same communities. How are our schools coping with the needs to educate some students for opportunities elsewhere, while other students “from away” (as Mainers like to say) arrive hoping to stay. Some of us have advocated “place-based” education in the belief that it will be more meaningful in both the short and long terms to rural students whose experiences – and possibly their futures -- are primarily in their own communities of residence. But the mainstream culture of education is oriented toward a more “national” – some might say “metropolitan” – view. A possible question, therefore, is what is actually happening in practice with respect to place-based education? To the extent that it is practiced, what are its effects on students whose experiences and/or futures may be mobile? What does it mean to be an effective teacher or to have a good school when some students and their families are mobile and others are not? What would it mean to explore these (or other) questions from a multi-disciplinary and/or a cross-national perspective? How are societies outside North America, including societies where some immigrants to North America originated, dealing with such issues?

Another topic of discussion at the business meeting was the need for continuing efforts to review and reflect on the literature in rural education as it develops. A suggestion was made that we should recognize Ted Coladarci’s 15 years of leadership in rural education research as editor of the Journal of Research in Rural Education by inviting him to speak at the business meeting next April in San Diego. In particular, it was suggested that he could reflect on his 2007 JRRE article “Improving the Yield of Rural Education Research: An Editor’s Swan Song” (online at http://jrre.psu.edu/articles/22-3.pdf). I approached Ted about this, and he indicated that he would rather attend and engage in a conversation about that article, a suggestion I accepted. I’m envisioning having several SIG members commit in advance to coming with some prepared thoughts, followed by a more open discussion. Would you agree to read Ted’s article and come to our business meeting next April prepared with your comments, questions, or concerns as discussion starters? Please let me know if you would be interested in doing this.

I’m looking forward to your continued participation in our SIG. Please submit your proposals this summer, volunteer to review proposals thereafter, and plan now to join us in San Diego in April. And if you have any doubts about getting to San Diego next April, keep in mind that I’ll be coming all the way from Maine!

See you in San Diego!



Phone: 207-581-2429

Fax: 207-581-2423

Erin Hatch Wins Rural

2007 SIG Dissertation of the Year Award

For the first time since the award was created six years ago, the recipient of the Dissertation of the Year award went to a graduate of Harvard University. Erin Hatch’s “By Myself: Rural Girls’ Narratives of Identity and Relationships in School” is a sophisticated ethnographic analysis of the forces that shaped conceptions of identity and relationships in the lives of eight rural New Hampshire girls. Hatch chronicled their challenges to healthy identity development, focusing on poverty, racial prejudice, sexism, violence, and conflicting messages about sexuality and femininity—all through the lens of the immediate rural locality. Hatch argued that the largest threat to the healthy development of young rural girls was the pervasive bullying and male sexual abuse that existed within the girls’ school and community. Despite these challenges, Hatch concluded that the girls resisted the negative forces in their lives with a sense of grace and courage.

Michael Barbour’s University of Georgia dissertation, “What Are They Doing and How Are They Doing It? Rural Student Experiences in Virtual Schooling,” was the 2008 runner-up. Barbour examined the strengths and weaknesses of virtual learning in Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador. Barbour’s careful research efforts are of particular import for anyone interested in rural education, since rural students are much more likely than their urban or suburban counterparts to be the recipients of virtual, or “e-learning,” as Barbour refers to it, learning experiences. Barbour concludes that much work is needed to improve both synchronous and asynchronous e-learning teaching strategies.

Donna Hardy Weston took this year’s third place award. Her dissertation, “Learning Mathematics in Central Appalachia: Life Histories of Beginning Elementary Teachers,” was completed at Virginia Polytechnic University. In an attempt to understand what young rural teachers from Appalachia bring to mathematics instruction in the region, Weston used qualitative methods to create life histories of three young Appalachian female educators. She chronicled their personal educational struggles, particularly in mathematics, as they moved through school, into college, and into teacher preparation programs. She paid particular attention to the role of the larger rural Appalachian culture with respect to the aspirations and the success of these young teachers, noting the effects of patriarchal relations, social stratification, poverty, and what she calls rural “isolation.”

AERA Announces 2009 Call for Proposals

In May the AERA 2009 president, Lorraine McDonnell, and the 2009 program committee chair, Michael Feuer, announced the theme and plans for the coming annual meeting. The meeting will begin on Monday, April 13, and run through Friday, April 17, in San Diego. The theme recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary work and emphasizes the need to integrate the work of academic disciplines and educational researchers: “Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the Circle of Knowledge.” AERA leadership this year encourages proposals that “demonstrate the value of interdisciplinary research, the significance of multiple methodological perspectives, and interactions between education. . .and disciplines in the sciences and humanities.”(May, 2008, Educational Researcher).

The 2009 theme offers a wide range of proposal opportunities for Rural Education SIG members and all persons interested in rural education. Research approaches designed to investigate the unique landscape of rural issues would appear applicable to this theme. The use of technology and applied sciences to teach and maintain rural learning situations also directly relates to interdisciplinary research topics; other interactions with the sciences and humanities suggest possible topics. Such a theme provides a catalyst for proposal ideas on rural education teaching, learning, and leading.

All proposals for divisions and sigs must be submitted by August 1, 2008 at 11:59pm (Pacific Standard Time). All proposals must be submitted electronically at http://www.area.net. Information regarding types of sessions and proposals appear on this website and as well in the May 2008 issue of Educational Researcher. The issue and website also include information for proposals to present professional development and training courses with a later due date.

Rural SIG Encourages Proposals and Reviewers

The co chairs for the 2009 program, Pat Hardre and Kai Schafft, are very excited about the upcoming proposal submissions for the SIG Program at AERA 2009, and hope to assemble another panel conversation as last year, responsive to the ideas that arose in the discussion together at sessions and at the SIG meeting. Hardre and Kai look forward to planning the program and enthusiastically encourage members to participate: “We expect to have a wonderful range of sessions and individual presentation proposals, once again, and we want to take this opportunity to invite everyone to prepare your work to share!”

“As we have a wealth of wonderful proposals, we also need a team of equally wonderful reviewers. We invite each member of the rural research community to volunteer to review proposals, to give useful feedback to those who submit their work for the convention. And when we have sessions selected and organized, we will need gifted discussants to synthesize the great ideas, and chairs to keep the program going on schedule. So visit the AERA Meetings site, look at the Call, and volunteer to share your gifts with the SIG community.”

“The Convention is in San Diego, and we hope to see everyone there, sharing ideas, insights and findings from our research in rural education. The year 2009 may sound like a lifetime away now, but remember that this summer is the time to write and submit. The Call for Proposals is available at: www.aera.net/meetings , and the submission window is June 1-August 1, 2008.”

If you have questions about the SIG program for AERA 2009, please contact the SIG co chairs:

Pat Hardré (hardre@ou.edu)

Kai Schafft (kas45@psu.edu)

Call for Proposals

Proposal Due Date Event/Organization

          August 1, 2008 Annual Meeting, American Educational Research Association, from April 13-17, 2009, San Diego, California.

          October 1 First International Symposium, International Symposium for Innovation in Rural Education (ISFIRE), February 11-14, 2009, Armidale, Australia. http://www.une.edu.au/simerr/ISFIRE/

2008-2009 Rural Education SIG Officers and Coordinators

SIG Chairperson SIG Secretary/Treasurer

Dr. John Maddaus Dr. Kathleen T. Jorissen

john.maddaus@umit.maine.edu ktjorissen@charter.net

University of Maine Western Carolina University

SIG Program Chairs

Dr. Patricia T. Hardre


The University of Oklahoma


Dr. Kai Schafft


Penn State University

Webmaster Awards Chair

Dr Michael K. Barbour Dr. Paul Theobald

mkbarbour@gmail.com theobapg@buffalostate.edu

Wayne State University Buffalo State College

Membership Coordinator Newsletter Editor

Dr. Kristine Reed Dr. Sharon Spall

kreed@usd.edu sharon.spall@wku.edu

University of South Dakota Western Kentucky University

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Rural Reminder

The Center on Education Policy recently released a report comparing rural and non-rural districts' experiences with NCLB. The national sample of 349 districts included 116 rural sites. Findings include the following:

1. NCLB’s highly qualified teacher requirements appear to have had a limited impact on teacher recruitment and retention. Respondents report the most difficulty with achieving the highly qualified requirements in high school math and science.
2. A smaller proportion of rural than non-rural districts report achievement gaps for racial/ethnic minority students or English language learners (ELLs), but this may be because of small n sizes. However, a large percent of rural districts indicate gaps between special and
general education students, and gaps based on income.
3. Similarly to non-rural respondents, rural districts rate their own policies and programs as more important causes of improved student achievement than the provisions of NCLB. The exception is Reading First, which rural educators cite as being important to improved language arts achievement.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008


Fwd: [AERA Qualitative Research SIG] Call for Nominations: Mary Catherine Ellwein

Dear Officers of the Rural Education SIG,

Please pass along the following announcement as appropriate.

----- Original Message -----

Dear AERA SIG Chairs,
The Qualitative Research SIG invites nominations of dissertations in educational research that exemplify excellence of qualitative methodology and that may also typify the SIG’s mission to emphasize “ways that qualitative research may contribute to
reducing inequality and injustice in schools and society.” Please see below as well as an attached FYI. Would you please forward this announcement to your SIG members?


Mary Catherine Ellwein Outstanding Dissertation Award

Qualitative Research Methodology

The Qualitative Research SIG invites nominations of dissertations in educational research that exemplify excellence of qualitative methodology and that may also typify the SIG’s mission to emphasize “ways that qualitative research may contribute to
reducing inequality and injustice in schools and society.” The winner of the qualitative award will also be recognized by the American Educational Research Association. Dissertations completed during the 2007-2008 academic year, prior to December 1,
2008, will be eligible for consideration. Nominations must be received by Friday, December 5, 2008. Late nominations or incomplete nominations will not be considered. Award finalists will be contacted the third week of January 2009. Finalists may
then be asked to supply 3 copies of the dissertation to distribute to the committee for further consideration.

Send nomination packages to: Dr. Karen Tonso

Wayne State University

#341 Education

5425 Gullen Mall

Detroit, Michigan 48202

To nominate a dissertation, the nomination packet must include 3 sets of the following five (5) items:

1. One letter of faculty endorsement from a member of the student’s dissertation committee who is an AERA member, attesting that the dissertation was completed by the student during the time period specified and that the faculty member
nominating or endorsing the nomination served on the dissertation committee. Please also include the oral defense date. This letter should include a brief clarification of the purposes, scope and quality of the student’s dissertation research, an
explanation of how the dissertation contributes to the field of qualitative methodology (in terms of theory and practice) and a discussion about why it is deserving of this methodological award.

2. A title page for the dissertation (including university/college, name of the professor chairing the dissertation committee and a complete list of committee members). In addition, please add to the title page complete contact information
(postal and e-mail) of either the student or the nominator that can be used for all correspondence regarding the award.

3. The Table of Contents from the dissertation.

4. A summary of the dissertation, prepared by the student, that gives an overview of the research, a description of individual chapters, and a statement that provides a context for how the representative chapter that is being sent fits within
the overall dissertation (double-spaced, 12 pt. type, 10 pages max.)

5. One representative chapter from the dissertation that best exemplifies the contribution of the dissertation to theorizing and implementing qualitative methodology. Criteria for judging the merits of the dissertations include the
significance and timeliness of the methodological issue(s) addressed, the integrity and quality of the discussion and implementation of the methods used for an empirical study, and the contribution of the dissertation to the advancement of knowledge
about an area of or issue in qualitative research methodology. Dissertation nominations might also add to the theoretical and practical knowledge about contemporary methodological issues to be considered for the award. For example, a recent winner
examined fictional writing genres and reflexive analyses of the researcher’s relationships with those studied. Dissertations that use qualitative methods, but that do not contribute significantly to the theorization or implementation of methodology,
and do not substantially address contemporary issues in methodology are not eligible for the award.


Thank You and we hope you have a safe, pleasant and productive summer!

Deborah Ceglowski, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Chair of Qualitative Research SIG
Jeasik Cho, Ph.D., University of Wyoming, Assistant to the Chair of the Qualitative Dissertation SIG service

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Not news: City-dwellers think that rural people are the Waltons or the Beverly Hillbillies.

News: You can get them to be as informed and passionate about rural issues as you are.

This nifty online "institute" helps you understand 1) how non-rural people think of rural communities and issues and 2) how to "make the kinds of communications choices that can lead to better policy outcomes for rural communities."

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Monday, June 09, 2008


Information On AERA SIGs And Capacity Building

I got this in my inbox yesterday. Any one care to sure some thoughts that we might pass on to them?


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Phoebe Stevenson <pstevenson@aera.net>
Date: Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 9:54 PM
Subject: Information on AERA SIGs and capacity building
To: AERA_SIG_OFFICERS-ANNOUNCE@listserv.aera.net

Dear AERA SIG Officers:

Under the leadership of AERA's 2008-2009 President Lorraine McDonnell, the AERA Council will be exploring ways in which AERA can play a more active role in the development of AERA members' research capacity (such as, by holding workshops on campuses; by having more professional development opportunities outside the Annual Meeting, including online seminars). There was also interest in thinking more systematically about how AERA might focus on teaching practice with regard to education research (such as, in the way the American Political Science Association does in PS or the American Statistical Association does in its workshops on campuses).

In preparation for Council's discussion in July, Lorraine McDonnell has asked that the Central Office collects information from divisions and SIGs on the following topics:
  1. Please list and briefly describe any professional development or mentoring activities which your SIG has provided during the past 2 to 3 years. Please include information on the target audience (such as, graduate students, junior faculty, etc.) and roughly how many mentors/instructors and participants were involved. These activities can include pre-Annual Meeting professional development courses, activities during the Annual Meeting, mentoring events, online forums, and other capacity building activities.
  2. Please list other meetings and conferences held outside of the AERA Annual Meeting. Please describe any mid-year meetings or conferences your SIG has featured in the past 2 to 3 years. Were these meetings sponsored solely by the SIG or were they jointly sponsored with another organization? Were these events open to all interested persons or by invitation only?
  3. Based on your involvement and experience with other scholarly and research societies, please list the activities offered by those associations. This can be a simple list that will help AERA explore new opportunities.

Thank you very much in advance for your assistance. I would appreciate hearing from you by Friday, June 13 if possible. Please kindly send your response to me at pstevenson@aera.net.

Warm regards,

Phoebe H. Stevenson
Deputy Executive Director
American Educational Research Association
1430 K Street, NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-238-3202
Fax: 202-238-3250
E-mail: pstevenson@aera.net
Web: http://www.aera.net

An American Educational Research Association List
If you need assistance with this list, please send an email to listadmin@aera.net.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Rural Reminder

"Where's the rural education money at?" you ask. The federal Department of Education's Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) funds two programs; the Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) program and the Rural and Low-Income Schools (RLIS) program.

The SRSA program provides eligible LEAs with flexibility in using formula grant funds they receive under certain state-administered federal programs (parts of Titles I and I, Title III, parts of Title IV, and Title V, Part A). This program component is nicknamed "REAP-Flex." SRSA also authorizes formula grant awards directly to such LEAs to support various local activities that support student achievement. New awards average around $20,000.

The RLIS program authorizes formula grant awards to SEAs, which in turn make subgrants to eligible LEAs (rural LEAs not eligible for SRSA). Average awards to SEAs are about $2 million, ranging from Idaho's $21,069 to Texas's $7,512,087.

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