New White Paper Proposes Theory of Change for Rural Education

Red barn and other farm buildings nestled in rolling hills
(Image credit: iStock/JackieNix)


With increasing scrutiny of rural America and its lagging educational outcomes, it’s time to consider new, innovative approaches to improving and expanding educational opportunities in rural communities. So concludes a new white paper issued by the Center for Education Reform (CER), which offers several vital “ingredients” needed to transform education to serve all populations in rural America. 

“We are building a new ecosystem to deliver better education to children, families, and communities in rural areas where resources can be scarce,” says Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of CER. “The goal is to make education opportunities accessible for learners of all levels, all across the country—regardless of income, regardless of zip code.”

The second in a series of reports drawing from CER’s research and experience over nearly three decades, the white paper documents CER’s new theory of change for rural education, which was developed following extensive first-hand research in the field that began in 2017. Bolstered by local leadership in several communities, CER consulted more than 60 leaders in education, technology, higher ed, state and local government, and philanthropy. 

According to the report, “If diverse groups of citizens and leaders from all sectors of life come together to expand and enhance educational opportunities in rural communities, school quality will improve, student outcomes will improve, and increasingly impoverished and desolate communities will be able to revive their once productive economies.”

Read CER’s “Expanding Education Innovation and Opportunity in Rural America” in full here: