How Rural Schools Survived the Pandemic

Educators in the Most Remote Parts of the State Have Faced Unique Challenges—And Found Some Silver Linings

In my 15 years researching and working in K–12 education, I haven’t seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic disruption to education. This is especially true in rural areas, whose remote location, lower population density, higher poverty rates, and limited access to internet infrastructure and health care made their schools especially vulnerable during the pandemic—and where many students were already struggling before the pandemic.

But in parts of rural California, the pandemic also revealed silver linings. Some far-flung schools and districts in our state have made great strides bridging the digital divide, …

tktk | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can California Lead a Reproductive Justice Movement?

From Sister-Friends to ‘Full-Spectrum’ Doulas, the Golden State May Be a Model for Care

As the full weight of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade bears down on the nation, California is seeking to become a sanctuary state for reproductive rights. …

The Marshall Project’s Keri Blakinger | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Marshall Project’s Keri Blakinger

The Title of My Book Sounds Like a Tattoo Memoir

Keri Blakinger is a staff writer at The Marshall Project, where she focuses on prisons and jails, and writes the “Inside Out” column. Before moderating a Zócalo/California Wellness Foundation panel …

If Small Towns Want to Survive, They Need a Plan B

To Fill Up the Storefronts Again, It Takes Talented, Enterprising Folks Who Aren’t Acting Alone

This country is littered with dying small towns that lacked a plan B, one they should have had in place before the mill shut down or the factory moved to …

After the Prisons Close, Where Does That Leave Rural Communities?

Incarceration Is Big Business In Towns Like Susanville, Which Now Must Find a New Economic and Civic Path Forward

Efforts to close prisons need to come with assistance to rural communities that depend on these institutions, said panelists at a Zócalo/California Wellness Foundation event in the northeast California town …

California Is Closing the Wrong Prison | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California Is Closing the Wrong Prison

Politics Dominated the State’s Move Toward Mass Incarceration. In Towns Like Susanville, It’s Dominating the State’s Move Away From It, Too

hen your town’s biggest business is punishment, how do you fight back when you’re being punished unfairly?

That’s the predicament facing Susanville, a small town that is the seat of Lassen …