Rural schools are the foundation of their communities.
The National Education Association actively supports the development of programs that recognize and deal with the particular needs of students, educators, school employees and communities in the nation's vast rural areas.
Rural Schools Do More with Less
Rural communities depend on their schools to serve many functions beyond their primary mission of educating children. Rural school districts are often the largest single employer in their area and rural schools serve as the social, recreational and cultural foundation of their communities.
But many rural school districts are under funded and some lack a steady revenue stream. Moreover, they are disadvantaged by size as well as geography. For example, when rural districts apply for grants, the resulting funds based on number of students are often too small to accomplish the purpose of the award. One rural district received a technology grant of $800—scarcely enough to buy a single computer.
Rural education employees also serve many roles in their communities and they, too, face many unique challenges:
- Lower salaries and benefits
- Lack of access to professional development opportunities
- Professional isolation
- Preparation for multiple subjects and grade levels
- Multiple extracurricular duties