Declining Enrollment Resources

One issue of great concern to many rural districts is declining enrollment. Many rural counties, particularly those with already-low population density, are seeing massive depopulation as farm economies change and families move to cities in search of work.

AASA, in response to concerns from AASA members, is continuing to research and seek solutions — how to provide a quality education in the face of declining enrollment and declining resources. Below are some of the resources AASA has gathered at the request of our rural members.

Running the Store - PowerPoint presentation to state association executives from the AASA Running the Store meeting in Las Vegas in December 2002. Provides overview of issues of declining enrollment, particularly in the Great Plains.

Declining Counties, Declining School Enrollments (PDF) - A white paper from AASA exploring issues related to declining enrollment in frontier counties.

Article in the Wingspread Journal (PDF) by Terri Schwartbeck and Mary Kusler describing issues of teacher quality in declining districts based on the Wingspread meeting.

 

From the October 2003 Wingspread Meeting on Declining Enrollments (PowerPoint Presentations)

  • WS 10-03-03 - Terri Duggan Schwartzbeck’s Wingspread presentation provides an overview of declining enrollment, particularly in the Great Plains states and in low-density counties. It includes a variety of maps and statistics specifically pertaining to student enrollment.
  • Five Scenarios in the Heartland -John Keller’s opening presentation at the Wingspread meeting gives a quick overview and five sample scenarios, including the description of the “Australian Bush Model.” Includes some good maps and statistics.
  • Intro & Imagery - This presentation includes many laugh-inducing and clever photos that epitomize many sides of rural life.
  • The Metro - This presentation describes the rise and rapid growth of our nation’s metropolitan areas, or metros, as the population shifts from rural to urban.
  • Aging - Another of John Keller’s Wingspread presentations about the increasingly elderly population, both worldwide and in the United States. It includes some detailed demographic information about the impact on economies and communities.
  • Programs & Conclusions - This presentation explores the issues facing rural communities and discusses breaking points, triage, the cluster hypothesis, county towns as regional centers and how technology fits in.

 

Additional Reports and Resources:

Why Rural Matters 2003 - The Continuing Need for Every State to Take Action on Rural Education - An analysis by the Rural School and Community Trust of data on education in rural America from a wide variety of sources. The report's conclusion: specific policy attention to rural school needs is critically needed in many states. This report includes the only comprehensive data on the percentage of rural schools with declining enrollments (see page 98) in each state.

 

The North Dakota State Data Center has a variety of good reports and maps (PDFs)

  • This map shows the number of counties in the Great Plains states including Minnesota and Iowa with continuous growth, continuous decline, or mixed growth from 1950 to 2000.
  • This map shows the population change in the United States from 1990 to 2000 by county in the age group 0 to 17. It indicates the present and future school population.
  • This map shows the whole population change in the United States by county from 1990 to 2000.

 

More maps (PDFs):

  • This map shows nonmetro counties that have experienced outmigration of 10 percent or more from 1980 to 1999. From the office of U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota.) Information on the New Homestead Act, co-sponsored in the 107th Congress by Senators Dorgan and Hagel (R-Nebraska), from Senator Dorgan’s office.
  • This map shows the population density of the United States, by county, in 1950. The focus is on identifying “frontier” counties, or those with fewer than 6 people per square mile. These counties are indicated by the light and dark blue. Map prepared for AASA by Proximity, Alexandria, Va.
  • This map shows the population density of the United States, by county, in 2000. The focus is on identifying “frontier” counties, or those with fewer than 6 people per square mile. These counties are indicated by the light and dark blue. Map prepared for AASA by Proximity, Alexandria, Va.

 


Staff Contact:
Terri Schwartzbeck
703-875-0764
tschwartzbeck@aaa.org