Far too often, our policy conversations focus heavily on urban locations. This is especially true in education. Yet there are over 9 million children in America’s rural schools who deserve our careful and thoughtful attention as well. That was what prompted Show-Me Institute Senior Education Policy Fellow Mike McShane and Andy Smarick, director of the Civil Society, Education and Work program at the R Street Institute to assemble an edited volume on rural education titled No Longer Forgotten: The Triumphs and Struggles of Rural Education in America.
Show-Me Institute Distinguished Fellow of Education Policy James Shuls contributed a chapter on rural school finance. Although the chapter is not about any specific state, James drew on several examples from Missouri. For instance, he explained how Missouri’s property tax assessment practices place rural schools at a disadvantage when raising local funds for schools and how many rural communities tax themselves at lower rates. When you combine these two facts, it’s easy to see why rural schools receive much less money than their suburban and urban counterparts.
There are a myriad of issues affecting rural schools, and the book is a good reminder that education reform shouldn’t stop at city limits.