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Bill Radke: Schools in rural areas are in trouble. A study out today from the Alliance for Excellent Education finds more than 20 percent of the poorest-performing high schools are in rural areas. The study concludes the problems in rural education are a national crisis, as Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports.

John Dimsdale: One in four rural high school students won't graduate. And Bob Wise, the president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, says federal policy makers aren't paying enough attention.

Bob Wise: If you're not seen or heard everyday, perhaps you're out of mind.

And without money from Washington, Wise, a former governor of West Virginia, says rural schools will fall further behind.

Wise: Because let's be honest: The federal government is about the only player that can afford to move forward. Almost every state is facing a budget shortfall and will for the next several years.

One special challenge for rural school districts: a wave of immigrants.

Wise: Rural areas that 10, 15 years ago did not have one word of foreign language spoken in them now have to offer English language learning courses.

Wise says technology can help close the gap. For example, students could take language courses on line once Internet connections are upgraded.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.