November’s election surfaced the angry divide between urban and rural America, and education is one of these tension points. Ashmore, Illinois is a rural town of 800 residents in central Illinois, the heartland of the United States. Each spring, about three hundred or so pre-K through 12th grade students wrap up the school year, running out into the parks and fields across the community to play. They will watch television, play video games, or go out into the yards. Most of them won’t, however, attend neighborhood learning programs; Ashmore does not have summer school for its students, even the lowest performing ones. This means the potential for summer learning loss is great.

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