Being in the school business is so last century. Being in the learning business is what American school districts must do if they are to create critical thinkers and self-proficient workers for the 21st century.
As Hurricane Rita roared over the Gulf of Mexico coast in late September and left displaced children and families of Hurricane Katrina to find yet another temporary home out of harm's way, Katrina's wrath was still reverberating.
When students in Livonia, Mich., were prompted by a local radio station to visit a unique Web site with the name of their school district in the address, they were assaulted by adult-oriented content touting "75 live cams, 12 girls and no rules."
Life must march on. School districts across the country have opened their doors to many of the nearly 240,000 children in K-12 that have been displaced and uprooted from their homes and neighborhood schools after Hurricane Katrina obliterated or drowned everything they knew along the Gulf of Mexico coastline.
Long bus rides. Teacher shortages. Poverty. Isolation and consolidation. Rural school districts in the most remote parts of the country all face similar troubles. But students in some rural states manage to do well, while in others, they struggle. Why?