Despite decades of metropolitan growth, over 9.3 million students still attend rural schools in the U.S. These children comprise nearly 20% of all students in the country. However, historically rural students, educators, families, and communities have been left out of the conversation in education research, policy making, and instructional improvement.
Rural school communities are experiencing demographic changes and economic shifts that affect everything from the hiring of educators to the college and career pathways available to students. By deepening the understanding of rural education needs and opportunities, NORC’s research informs federal, state, and local initiatives to improve educational outcomes and educational equity in rural areas.
NORC is engaged in rigorous rural education research at a number of school-community intersections. In a study funded by the Spencer Foundation, NORC is partnering with Kansas State University, Eastern Carolina University and Clemson University to collect historical and contemporary data on racial equity in rural education and develop a forward-thinking research agenda for the field. NORC is also conducting a mixed methods evaluation of a civics curriculum that identifies challenges to rural community health and well-being while increasing the capacity of rural youth to participate in local civic action. In addition, NORC is gathering primary data on rural school district efforts to increase student interest in teaching as a profession and other strategies to attract and retain high-quality educators. Together, these studies engage rural schools and communities with a place-based lens that is responsive to the needs of rural students and their families.
Rural Education Experts