School bus driving on rural road

Rural school districts share many of the challenges that face urban and suburban districts: recruiting good teachers, offering a broad range of courses for students, and securing adequate funding. However, rural districts also operate under the unique constraints that come with relatively small student populations spread over large geographic areas. This essay examines the difficulties rural districts must contend with and also looks at innovative responses—some of them already in use in other states—that can help rural schools provide a high-quality education to their students. Click the link below to read the entire essay.

*UPDATE 2/6/2017, the data upon which Figure 5 and 6 are based are currently being reexamined and updated.  We will post an article on our blog when the review is complete.

*UPDATE 2/8/2017 The updated 2015-16 numbers for figure 5 as well as a correction for the original report are available here.

About the Author

Michael McShane
Senior Fellow of Education Policy

Mike McShane is Senior Fellow of Education Policy for the Show-Me Institute. He is a former high school teacher and earned his PhD in Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. Before coming to the Show-Me Institute, Mike worked at the American Enterprise Institute as a research fellow.