Diversity in the U.S. school system isn’t just about ethnicity and economics but also geography and the how living in an urban, rural, or suburban environment can shape students and parents. A new analysis from Education Post’s 2015 Parent Attitudes Survey focuses on rural parents and their attitudes toward the public school system. Overall, while the parents believe that schools have the potential to overcome social issues like poverty, the majority do not believe that current schools will actually do it.
- Sixty-one percent of rural parents polled feel the U.S. public education system is headed down the wrong track compared to 52% of suburban parents and 38% of urban parents.
- Rural parents are more likely to believe that all children have access to the same quality schools (57%), but they are less likely to believe that their children’s schools are preparing them well for life after high school.
- Rural parents indicate they have fewer good options for schools, but also view charter schools less favorably.
As the author Jennifer O’Neal Schiess writes, these issues are not particularly new, but do require strategies suited to the rural environment: “While rural schools face many of the same challenges as schools everywhere—lagging or stagnant achievement, poverty, poor post-secondary participation—education policy tends toward solutions built on an urban framework that may not translate well to rural communities.”
Read “Rural Parents Believe in the Promise of Education, But Are Less Confident on the Delivery,” by Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Education Post (October 29, 2015)