- A new report from the AASA and the Rural School and Community Trust calls on federal policymakers to stop promoting private school vouchers as a way to expand educational opportunities in rural areas and to instead protect E-Rate modernization and increase efforts to integrate technology into teaching and learning.
- “Deploying education technology that can bridge distances between high-level content, instruction and professional development and personalize educational opportunities for children is a game-changer for rural school districts,” write the authors of “Leveling the Playing Field for Rural Students.”
- The report also recommends Congress extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, help schools better access Medicaid funding for health and mental health services provided to students, increase Perkins funding for career and technical education programs, expand the Community Eligibility Provision so more students in high-poverty schools can receive free meals, and adjust the Title I funding formula so that it’s “accurately and more meaningfully” allocated to rural school districts.
Over half of the nation’s school districts — 53% — are in rural areas, and close to one in five students attends a rural school, the report says. In recent years, poverty rates in these areas have been increasing; in 2013, 16 states had a majority of rural students who lived in low-income households, but now the number of states with those statistics has climbed to 23.
Students in rural areas, however, perform better on the reading and mathematics portions of National Assessment of Educational Progress and have higher graduation rates than their counterparts in cities.
In recent years, rural schools have found that they can leverage more funding and learn from each other when they join forces as part of networks and coalitions. Applying for grants and sharing curriculum are a few ways that districts are keeping their remote locations from being a barrier.