Craig Howley's initial booklist to Mike Smith Aug 29:

>Mike S to list:
This is the list that Dr Howley sent me. I've read Place Value, I thought it was ok, although right now I'm reading The Imperfect Union and think its great. I really want to read Learning to Leave next. You said you have some recommendations as well? I'm open to anything, I didn't even realize there was separate research done in rural math education research. Actually until a year ago, I didn't realize that math education was separate from math in general. So I'm trying to be a sponge right now.

>>A good place to start, if you've not read in the rural education literature is Place Value by Toni Haas and Paul Nachtigal (1997). It's a guide to the wide literatureabout rural. And you can take it from there. (full text is in ERIC)

My favorite books in the literature are, in no particular ranking:

David Whisnant (1980) Modernizing the Mountaineer

Alan Peshkin (1982) The Imperfect Union

Paul Theobald (1997) Teaching the Commons

Alan DeYoung (1995) The Life and Death of a Rural American High School

Mike Corbett (2007) Learning to Leave

Patrick Carr & Maria Kefalas (2009) Hollowing Out the MIddle [the most accessible, but the shallowest--well-written, though; actually Peshkin is just as accessible,but truer to his data]

Not on my favorites list, but just published (2010) is a collection edited by Kai Schafft and Alecia Youngblood-- Rural Education in the 21st Century (a title chosenclearly for marketability). My spouse Aimee and I have a chapter and so does Theobald.

Currently my favorite theoretical piece among my own works is "Critique and Fiction: Doing Science Right in Rural Education Research." It's at:

Ask for more if needed!


The exchanges that "assembled" the initial group (in reverse chronology):

external image cleardot.gifdaniel showalter to Mike, me, kleinr, howleyc, kh232602

show details Aug 31

Perhaps against my better judgement, but I can't resist - the topic is alluring and the people involved will make for good discussion. Plus, I've been getting into some of the rural issues more with this ACCLAIM study. I may be a slightly lesser involved member, but I'm in.

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On Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 12:51 PM, Mike Smith <> wrote:
I'm in. I was just teaching 8 to 12 today. Edte is ok, edre might be optimal, although how would this change the course? I am up for anything. When can everyone meet up?

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From: Howley, Craig <>;
To: ms114409-forward <>; Jeff Taylor <>; ds252509-forward <>; Klein, Bob <>;
Cc: Hendrickson, Katie <>;
Subject: Re: Rural Math Ed Readings
Sent: Wed, Aug 31, 2011 4:20:38 PM



We seem to be coalescing... perhaps... Bob and me and Mike and Jeff... though I've not heard back from Mike, who made the initial inquiry. Nor from Dan re this business. It's OK not to play!!


On Aug 31, 2011, at 10:33 AM, Hendrickson, Katie wrote:

Hi all,

This sounds like such a great class and I wish I could take it- however, my schedule is already solid for fall quarter. Maybe future quarters (spring?) I could be involved.

However- I am interested in the readings you all arrange, so please keep me updated about that. I might do a little of the reading on my own. :)



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On Aug 31, 2011, at 9:49 AM, "daniel showalter" <> wrote:

This sounds like a wonderful idea - as evidenced by the fact that I'm becoming increasingly interested despite my packed schedule.

In terms of credit, I'm 99% sure we need EDTE or EDRE and it sounds like either would be possible, depending on the direction it is taken - I'm fine with either one; do others have a preference?


On Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 9:41 AM, Howley, Craig <> wrote:
Yeah, I do remember, and I was happy to hear you'd decided to join us. OK, I just ordered Ignorant Schoolmaster.
I'm willing to help organize the thing, I've got a section of EDAD890 (research in edad--a generic slot used for whatever we like). I'm willing to go with it with 2 students, or 3, or 4; and Bob Klein has agreed to help as well. I guess in just one student wanted and independent study, I'd do that too. The idea here is that we (or he or she) is teaching ourselves/themselves/him-herself. That is, I'm not doing much work besides discussion and some reading! But it all sounds like true education to me.
We can get other course shells to cover the activity, but we would need to act fast. EDRE would be possible, if we focus on empirical stuff, and CI if we focused on pedagogy. The EDAD course could be billed as rural schools and communities, as well, instead of 890, but 890 is on the books. Not a big deal, according to my informants to get another course up. Aimee would probably be instructor of record if EDRE.
I'd conceive this as a reading course, such that reading and discussion is the only assignment. Unless one or more students wants to write a manuscript for publication, in which case it would be a self-assignment. That could emerge over the course of the quarter, and wouldn't need completion either for the course or any other instrumental reason.
But the student members would have to decide which course would suit the purpose best, greatest good for greatest number. Can't do that myself. But if we're to do this, I'm thinking you-all may as well accumulate points.'s not after all an absolute necessity.
My schedule is pretty clear; away 9/11-13, but otherwise available. Somebody, though, you or Mike or Dan, has to organize the event and contact the prospective members. I'd suggest a Casa or China Fortune lunch for the initial chat. I'll pick up the tab. Free lunch!! Take that, Mr. Governor!

On Aug 30, 2011, at 9:55 PM, Jeff Taylor wrote:

    • Good evening
I'm one of the new TE PhD cohort -- you may recall me as the one who suggested you read Learning to Leave. Mike Smith, who's helping me teach my section of EDTE 150, has told me of his contacts with you re: a reading course on rural math education this fall. I'd like to add my name to the list of intertested students -- it's why I'm at OhioU, and in any case all the required courses seem to be full. Any chance we can meet before things move into high gear to discuss possible readings/research areas?
    • And have you been reading Jacques Ranciere?
    • Jeff Taylor

Follow-up email after Meeting 1 (from Craig Howley):

Gang of 6-7 (Bob plz forward to Rebecca, if she is still interested)--

So we've agreed to meet next at Casa Nueva (W State, west that is of Court St) on Friday 9/9 at 11:30, over lunch. I'll put in pink slips (permission to register in a closed course) for all who want to enroll. This is what I have for hours (enrollees decide for themsevles based on their sense of the effort to be devoted to this reading group).

    • Jeff-- 4 hrs
Dan'l -- 2 hrs
Derek -- 3 hrs
Mike-- ??
Rebecca-- ??

The course is EDRE 790; I just checked my class lists, and the section has not yet been added--is underway, however. I'll keep checking.

An important focus will be method and empirical approaches to substantive questions about "rural math education" (whatever that is, and part of our task might be to define it for ourselves). The readings will be individual, with each participant reading differently and bringing back reports of the reading to the whole group. I, at least, am keeping my eyes open for an empirical project--a study with new data--that our talks might inspire; and such a project could (a) outlast the class and (b) generate another credit-bearing episode or more (under which auspices we, some or all, might conduct a study).

Our first set of readings, which Jeff will circulate, are (1) Bill Bush's piece proposing ethnomathematics and rural ed as the ground for rural math ed (published in JRRE) and (2) Mike Corbett's essay, which is a spinoff of Mike Corbett, The Movie. Bill was the conceptual leader and inventor of ACCLAIM (assessment is his passion), and Mike is author (2007) of Learning to Leave, based on his dissertation, and the best new rural book-length study in some time.

movie at:

Now, some of us have already done some reading about rural, but others, raised rural, haven't. This situation--being rural and not having encountered it anywhere within schooling K-24--is common; it's the rule. I circulated a suggested starter list to Mike some time ago, but I'm looking for short things to get you into the flow. I'm settling on ERIC Digests--they were just 2pp. each when typeset. The man who destroyed the ERIC clearinghouses hated ERIC Digests, and so the New ERIC has done its best to make these things, which were handsomely produced, ugly. These are from the clearinghouse I directed, and we put great effort into making them very good or better.

    • Paul Theobald's take on the relevance of Wendell Berry's work to to rural education:

Bob Bickel, Marty Strange, and YT on issues of unit size in rural schooling:

Jaekyung Lee's synopsis of his study on variation in rural achievement and schooling conditions:

Aimee and Tom Gibbs (now super at Warren Local, east of Athens) take on national standards and "place-based education"

    • For implications of consolidation and school closure in rural places, take a look at Tom Lyson's 2002 article in JRRE:,n3,p131-137,Lyson.pdf

This will get those unsure about what rural is all about started. To go deeper, check out Wendell Berry (Wikipedia entry is a fair start and will show you the scope of the work; one of my favorites is the essays in What Are People For? and those in Home Economics. Berry is all about the educative value of rural life, but he's a skeptic of schooling, and recently severed all ties with the University of Kentucky, when they accepted a bunch of coal money. Jerry Johnson, in EDAD, is a major reader of Wendell Berry and we could certainly buy him lunch some time.

Footnote. As for cool methodology check out Berry & West's study of the return to income in states that retained small schools versus others (which I'm attaching); and the Kuziemko study of "shocks to enrollment," also attached. The latter does have something to do with math (since math ach is a var).


More news 9/1

Gang of 4 + Bob--

Somehow anticipating your-all's consensus, EDRE 790 is going to be set up for our reading course <-- passive voice; don't use it except, like this, for intentional concealment. Variable credit, so you decide what you need or can do.

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The book title I couldn't think of was Rural Communities: Legacy and Change by Flora, Flora, Spears, and Swanson.
For Mike and Bob... we set the meetings up for Fridays at 11:30am at Casa beginning next Friday. Jeff will be sending some preliminary reading material...

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Precisely. Mine doesn't have a green cover!!

It's an accessible intro, and a pretty easy read. 1992 pub date. I knew Jackie Spears pretty well, but haven't seen her in a while. Husband was a physicist.

Anyhow, there are bunches with green cover at $1 on Alibris:

First Readings sent out (Jeff) also 9/1:

Attached are the readings we agreed on, plus one:

1. William Bush on the nature of Rural Math Ed research (from Journal of Research in Rural Education,

2. Ruth Heaton on the concept of Rural (ACCLAIM working paper 40)

3. Arnold et al on the state of Rural Education Research c. 2005 (from JRRE) -- I threw this in as an "extra".


Rebecca added 9/4 (from Craig):



We'll probably be done by the time you'd arrive. Are there any regular times in your schedule that work as well as, say, 2PM Fridays? It does appear that Friday, predictably is good for everyone. But others mentioned Tues and Thurs as possibilities... but we did settle on Friday. Will be a different mix of folks on 9/9, so we might wind up with another day. It may be a couple of weeks, too, before our next f2f...

I'm circulating this to everyone, because we might be able to kick the meeting to 2PM on 9/9.

Everyone--reply to all about possible time change.

Still no section listed... will keep checking. Apparently, once pink-slipped, you are registered (if I understood Bob a-right).


On Sep 4, 2011, at 1:56 PM, Rebecca Ross wrote:

  • Hi Dr. Howley!
> Just wanted to update you on my schedule... I am finished with class
  • at 1 on Fridays and could probably make it to Casa by 1:30/1:45 (I'll
  • by coming by bike).
> Looking forward to hearing back from you!
  • Rebecca Ross
.Michael Corbett chimes in (via Craig) 9/8:


I know how you feel about hope! We have a bunch of chapters (officially n=9), but are still waiting on 4 or 5 others. Actually not so much waiting as planning to make alternative arrangements. Good stuff takes time--that's what I tell the suffering doc students. I guess I can learn from them learning from me.

If you were to recommend 5 rural works to smart folks curious but clueless about the rural phenomenon(a)--articles, books, research, whatever--what would they be? L2L would be on our lists down here, of course, so I'm asking for what else?

A group of extremely capable math ed students has pressed Bob Klein and me into helping them read. They'd be keen to hear your counsel. Me too.


On Sep 8, 2011, at 7:48 AM, Michael Corbett wrote:

  • Hi Craig
Here is a better draft of the social class paper I sent on a couple of weeks ago.
I had fun with this one. I'll be interested in your response.In the next couple of weeks I hope to get at the rural literacies stuff finally.Cheers


<Contemporary class analysis2_Craig.docx>



I confessed to our group already: I essentialize. In the name of doubt, apparently. "It's all about the economy" might indeed be my religion, such as it were (once). I've not read any on your list, so that's very good.

With these sins on full view, all of these avoid easy answers:

  1. Raymond Williams's The Country and the City (not recommended for anyone unfamiliar with British fiction of the past 300 years)-- but harboring an essential message and morale: the past was not better than the present, and those who insist are trying to mislead you. Inhabit the margins instead. (This is a work both theoretical and empirical, but its data are literary works and most empiricists will not recognize the empirical effort--but the effort concerns doubt about the usual judgments renedered on "great novels.")
  2. Corbett's Learning to Leave--postmodernish, and wide in scope, respectful of complexity, and clearly, clearly focused on the essential issue (conundrum) of outmigration. That and consolidation (see Deyoung, below) are to my essentializing mind the 2 rural issues. Period. The rest is smoke and mirrors.
  3. Theobald's Teaching the Commons--practically theoretical, midwestern in flavor (like the author), and ideologically revealing (again, on practical terms). Not empirical.
  4. DeYoung's Farewell Little Kanawha (the subtitle, which Alan wanted as the main title, but the publisher said Nope): It's built like a Bartok quartet, and weaves anthropology, sociology, history, economics together like C. Wright Mills. No one I know but you and me, OK Aimee too, could tackle such a method. OK, Gene Glass might, except that he takes only a passing interest in rural. (Others--this is not as much hubris as you think!)

And then? I've read others, but they don't come close to the preceding...

So I go for a JRRE empirical article...

Beverly Burnell's lovely piece on how a rural high school saw it's college-deferring but college-capable rural students as misguided. Her only rural contribution, but solid, modest, dramatically on target. Sticks with the data and comes to stunning conclusions. I use it as an example of yeomanly rural research all the time. From her dissertation, of course, but so unusual in the genre.,n2,p104-113,Burnell.pdf

I'm gonna through Soja into the mix for interested readers down here, as well. If we don't appreciate the geography, and we're interested in rural, well, it seems that we are materially no where. Probably not a good place!


Group-- see Mike's nominations below...


On Sep 8, 2011, at 1:20 PM, Michael Corbett wrote

Hi craig

Just out of a thesis defense. Marxicological discussion. I love religion.

Rural phenomenology huh?

Well ....

Ching and creed's rusticity book

Kieran bonner, a great place to raise kids (McGill queens u press) - weird take on rurality and quite theoretically sophisticated

Jennifer Sherman's book called those who work and those who don't or something like that - good ethnography

Something by Wendell berry - life is a miracle or resettlement of America is still powerful to me

Kim donehower and friends' rural literacies book looks at perceptions from both sides

Mike woods new book just called rural looks at rurality as a cultural and spatial phenomenon. Good stuff on the rural imaginary

You know I think there is a review article here for you, me, Aimee, Kai, Paul T, Allan D ... Or some group. What are your top five and why?

Back to meeting


We become official 9/9 (from Craig):


Dear Colleagues--

Gottem pink slips & class is now listed. don't let me forget to hand out the pink slips at our meeting.... they need your names, PIDs, and your chosen credit hours. And a volunteer to trudge them to the registrar at Chubb would be nice.

See ya at 11:30.


Bob Klein shares his Amazon Wish List: