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Status of Education in Rural America

Abstract

"This report presents a series of indicators on the status of education in rural America, using the new NCES locale classification system...The findings of this report indicate that in 2003-04 over half of all operating school districts and one-third of all public schools in the United States were in rural areas; yet only one-fifth of all public school students were enrolled in rural areas. A larger percentage of public school students in rural areas than those in any other locale attended very small schools. A larger percentage of rural public school students in the 4th- and 8th-grades scored at or above the Proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading, mathematics, and science assessments in 2005 than did public school students in cities at these grade levels. However, smaller percentages of rural public school students than suburban public school students scored at or above the Proficient level in reading and mathematics. In 2004, the high school status dropout rate among 16- to 24-year-olds in rural areas was higher than in suburban areas, but lower than in cities. Current public school expenditures per student were higher in rural areas in 2003-04 than in any other locale after adjusting for geographic cost differences. Racial/ethnic minorities account for a smaller percentage of public school teachers in rural schools than in schools in all other locales in 2003-04."

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