There are many aspects about rural schools that make them less fortunate than other types of schools. The actual environment of rural schools sometimes makes it hard for their students to succeed. Poverty is the “600 pound gorilla” that is sitting on rural schools (Berliner, 2004). Rural schools are dependent on national and urban economics, and if the economy is not prospering, this also how rural schools fail. Because these schools are geographically and culturally isolated due to their locations, they usually lack the conditions that non-rural schools have.
In addition, the location of these rural schools forces them to use more effort in order to network with people and to get the materials needed for teachers and students. Recently, farms in rural areas have been diminishing, and rural policy no longer has to be equated with farm policy. Furthermore, rural areas have previously depended on their schools as a focus of life, but this has changed and the future has become different. The school is now expected to prepare students for a different society than traditional rural environments, which creates an imbalance in ideals and traditions (Stern, 1994).
We must view rural schools and communities as integrated social structures. Poverty is another problem that exists in rural schools, although it varies by region. We are in need of a federal policy to recognize the diversity of rural populations and give provisions for resources unavailable because of a lack of funding. There are three levels of funding provided by the government(local, state, and federal) that add to educational spending.
If rural schools are to give the same services to their students as larger schools, the cost of program per person would be higher, but these schools do not receive extra money (DeYoung, 1991). Rural schools face poor conditions that their students are exposed to on a daily basis. For example, these schools lack the facilities, course materials, and programs that wealthier districts have. The problem with resources in rural schools is not availability of information, but the diversity of their settings.
A critical factor as to why rural schools have such problems is the funding that they receive. Due to the small size of these schools, they tend to get less money from the government, but even when they get the same funding as non-rural districts, this is not enough due to the unique problems that rural schools are faced with. Because of the lack of funding, the condition of the schools is terrible. Usually rural schools have dilapidated buildings, which makes the learning environment unsafe and not motivating for the students.
Since schools do not have sufficient funding, they are not able to tailor programs to the student’s needs, such as Advanced Placement and Honors classes as well as remedial and special education classes, which creates problems for these students. Furthermore, the materials that rural schools are provided with are out of date, and technological improvements such as computers and internet access are not available in most rural areas (Gibbs, 2000). Since the conditions of rural schools are not motivating to students they may experience.
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