"More Schools Need 4H and FFA Programs" According to Independent Study Conducted by OYEFri, 10 Mar 2017 16:48:21 CST
A series of recent focus groups involving rural parents, students, and business leaders provides a window into the concerns of rural stakeholders on school quality and education policy debates at the State Capital. Tyler Norvell, executive director of OYE, spoke on the findings of this study in a recent interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, which can be heard by clicking or tapping on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
The study, conducted by Bellwether Education Partners and sponsored by the Oklahoma Youth Expo conducted 12 focus groups and nine interviews in rural communities throughout Oklahoma.
The study focused on a number of issues including course options for students in high school to students’ post-college job prospects to their perspectives on policies such as charter schools and consolidation.
“To my knowledge is the first time rural voices on education have been so thoroughly researched. We hope will help policymakers better understand how their constituents in rural communities experience the policies and laws they shape,” said Tyler Norvell, executive director of the Youth Expo.
Norvell went on to explain there are no desired policy outcomes his group is pushing for as a result of the report. He simply wanted to arm policymakers with good information.
A major theme sought to highlight participants’ thoughts, reactions, and questions as they relate to a set of pertinent education policy issues: funding, consolidation, the four-day school week, and charter schools. These issues hit close to home for many participants, and it is important that policymakers understand how rural community members are experiencing the effects of various policy decisions made in the capital.
Another theme of the report is on high school outcomes, specifically that participants felt high school does not prepare rural students for their next steps, whether college or career.
Additionally, the last theme focused on the transition between high school and college/career. Disagreement among participants about the goal of public education surfaced larger questions about what rural high schools should be preparing their students to do after graduation. Should all students go to college? What about trades such as plumbing or welding? How can high schools better inform students about their various options? What is the role of the business community in helping students learn about career opportunities? The findings in this theme offer insight into how rural community members are thinking about these questions.
As legislators in the Sooner State seek to address the challenges in Oklahoma’s rural schools, it is critical that they understand how the students, parents, community members, and business leaders living in rural communities perceive and experience the education system and the policies and programs that surround it.
Click here to view the complete report.
Source - Oklahoma Youth Expo
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