More than 7 million students are enrolled in rural school districts. An additional 2.5 million students attend rural schools in districts that are not designated “rural” by the Census Bureau. This means that in all, nearly 1 in 5 students are enrolled in rural schools. That’s more students than are enrolled in our nation’s 100 largest school districts combined, according to the National Rural Education Association’s “Why Rural Matters 2023” report. But these students and their dedicated educators are often forced to make do with paltry resources.
Students may not have up-to-date textbooks, and their school buildings, which serve as community gathering places, are often old and dilapidated. Their educators lack the resources to provide the broad curriculum and extracurricular activities—such as student clubs and athletic programs—that inspire students’ imagination and prepare them for the future.
The bipartisan Secure Rural Schools Act of 2023 (S. 2581/H.R. 5030) will help provide funding for public schools, libraries, and other public services in rural areas, improving life for students and families.