Giving Compass’ Take:
• Alison DeNisco explains how rural schools are turning to creative solutions to combat declining enrollment and staff shortages that plague rural districts.
• How can funders help schools and community to address these challenges?
• Learn about rural philanthropy.
Despite facing declines in enrollment, funding and hiring pools, many rural districts are working to employ creative solutions to fill gaps and provide the necessary educational resources for students.
These remote districts lack the tax bases of urban and suburban areas, leading to less funding, says Allen Pratt, executive director of the National Rural Education Association.
The No. 1 problem rural districts face is the teacher shortage, Pratt says. This is a national issue—teacher education enrollment dropped 35 percent between 2009 and 2014, according to the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute. But it is far more severe in rural areas, where educators often make less money than their urban and suburban colleagues, Pratt says.
Rural districts also suffer from higher-than-average administrator turnover, according to a 2018 U.S. Department of Education study.
“The days when a superintendent or principal would stay in a position for 20 to 30 years are gone,” Pratt says. Principals in remote districts are also less likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to stay at the same school the following year, and more likely to leave the profession altogether, the Department of Education study found.
Declining enrollments in some states have led remote schools to combine or close.
Read the full article about rural schools by Alison DeNisco at District Administration.
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