Why Rural Matters 2005: Print Edition

Last Updated: May 10, 2005

Why Rural Matters 2005: Print EditionBy Jerry Johnson, Ed.D, State and Regional Policy Studies Manager and Marty Strange, Policy Director

Why Rural Matters 2005 is the third in a series of reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education.

In 2002-2003, 27% (12.5 million) of public school students attended school in communities of fewer than 25,000 and 19% (8.8 million) attended school in smaller communities of fewer than 2,500. In this report, we focus on the schools in those smaller communities, the most rural schools in America.

We framed the report around 22 statistical indicators grouped into four gauges measuring: (1) the relative importance of rural education, (2) the level of poverty in rural schools, (3) other socio-economic challenges faced by rural schools, and (4) the policy outcomes achieved in rural education. Policy outcomes include both student achievement measures (NAEP scores and graduation rates) and structural factors that both influence student outcomes and are within the control of policymakers to be "policy outcomes," such as student-teacher ratios, organizational scale of schools and districts, and per pupil spending on instruction.

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