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Perspective | Addressing the unique rural education strengths and challenges in North Carolina

Did you know that North Carolina is home to 568,000 rural students, the second largest rural student population in the United States after Texas? This fall, the Public School forum will convene its seventeenth study group to better understand the unique needs, challenges, and strengths of rural school districts across the state. It’s a critically important undertaking because in the years following a court ruling known as “Leandro,” the state has fallen short of its obligation to ensure that all children, including those who are from rural and underserved communities, have access to a sound basic education.

This week, we hear from two co-chairs of the Forum’s new study group focused on rural education: Patrick Woodie, head of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, and Jeni Corn with MyFutureNC, which aims to close the educational attainment gap by 2030. Also joining us is Alan Richard, board member of the Rural School and Community Trust, a national organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving communities. We discuss how North Carolina can better serve our rural students so that each child can access a sound basic education.


  • Alan Richard, Board Member, Rural School and Community Trust
  • Patrick Woodie, President, North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center
  • Jeni Corn, Ph.D., MyFutureNC
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.