Report: Charter Schools Have Lasting Impact in Rural America

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has released its latest Issue Brief – Beyond City Limits: Expanding Public Charter Schools in Rural America – in an attempt to highlight the studied benefits of charter schools in rural districts.

This comes as many rural lawmakers battle with the ongoing difficulties of teaching in remote areas including budget constraints, course offerings, recruitment, special education resources, and transportation. And as they look to idea of enacting charter school laws, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools new brief may come as food for thought.

The brief is a guide for policymakers, charter support organizations, and communities that want to offer high-quality options that can meet the educational needs of rural students.

The brief looks to various challenges faced in rural public education and analyzes the key hurdles that must be overcome in order to launch a successful public charter school in a small community.

Ursula Wright, interim president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said:

"Rural students comprise a vital segment of the American public education system; however, their educational needs are not being met.

"One in four students, which equates to over 11 million children, attend rural public schools and one in five of the nation's lowest performing schools are in rural areas. There is a real focus required to ensure rural schools are meeting the academic needs of their students and charter schools can help by providing high-quality options."

In 2009-10, charter schools in rural areas consisted of 16 percent of the number of charter schools nationwide, however in the same period 33 percent of all traditional state schools were in rural districts.

There are a number of ways that policymakers and charter support organizations can help expand high-quality charter schools in rural communities, says the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

"For policymakers, laws allowing for public charter schools and then equitable funding of those schools must be at the forefront.

"The further development of rural charter schools is contingent upon lawmakers setting a level playing field that is conducive to growth. State charter support organizations are instrumental in making sure that rural communities are well-informed on the potential benefits of charter schools."

02 29, 2012
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