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Lost Schools

Series Overview

Tens of thousands of United States school districts have been shuttered in the past century due largely to seismic changes in rural demographics as well as financial or educational policy pressures. One of the hardest hit states is Iowa where more than 92 percent of school districts have closed since 1950 as rural areas become less populated. Vacant school buildings now shadow the landscapes in every Iowa county leaving communities in search of solutions to the tough economic realities they face.
This documentaryproduced by The Des Moines Register and presented by Iowa Public Television follows two Iowa districts and their communities for one school year as they wrestle with the monumental consequences of these changes. The film also offers insight into efforts to preserve the remaining pieces of the nation's once numerically majestic educational system and the rural way of life that has been Iowa's cultural bedrock.