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Status of Education in Rural America
NCES 2007-040
June 2007

Resources for public schools


  • Rural public schools tended to receive a smaller percentage of their revenues in 2003–04 from federal sources (9 percent) than city public schools (11 percent), but a larger percentage than suburban public schools (6 percent). (Indicator 3.1)
  • Adjusted current public school expenditures per student were higher in rural areas in 2003–04 ($8,400) than in cities ($8,100), suburbs ($7,900 each), and towns ($8,400). (Indicator 3.2)
  • In rural areas, as well as nationally, a larger percentage of public schools reported being underenrolled (69 percent of rural schools) than overenrolled (13 percent of rural schools) in fall 2005. The percentage of public schools reporting severe underenrollment in rural areas (33 percent) was greater than in all other locales (12–18 percent). (Indicator 3.3)
  • In 2002–03, the percentage of public high school students attending schools offering dual credit courses was similar in rural areas (76 percent) to the percentages in cities and suburbs, while the percentage of public high school students attending schools offering Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses or programs was lower in rural areas (69 and 1 percent, respectively) than in cities (93 and 8 percent) and suburbs (96 and 7 percent). (Indicator 3.4)
  • The number of public school students per instructional computer with Internet access in school was lower in rural areas (3.0 to 1) in 2005 than in suburban (4.3 to 1) and city (4.2 to 1) schools. (Indicator 3.5)
  • Rural public schools generally had fewer pupils per teacher (15.3) than public schools in other locales (15.9–16.9) in 2003–04. (Indicator 3.6)
  • Racial/ethnic minorities account for a smaller percentage of public school teachers in rural schools (8 percent) than in schools in all other locales (12–29 percent) in 2003–04. (Indicator 3.7)
  • In 2003–04, teachers in rural public schools averaged more years of experience (14.5 years) than teachers in city public schools (13.6 years). (Indicator 3.8)
  • In general, smaller percentages of public school teachers in rural areas than across the nation as a whole reported problems as "serious" and behavioral problems as frequent (occurring at least once a week) in their schools in 2003–04. (Indicator 3.9)
  • Generally, a larger percentage of public school teachers in rural areas than in other locales reported being satisfied with the teaching conditions in their school in 2003–04, though a smaller percentage of rural public school teachers than suburban public school teachers reported being satisfied with their salary. (Indicator 3.9)
  • Public school teachers in rural areas earned less ($43,000), on average, in 2003–04 than their peers in towns ($45,900), suburbs ($45,700), and cities ($44,000), even after adjusting for geographic cost differences. (Indicator 3.10)
  • In 2003–04, public schools in rural areas experienced the greatest difficulty filling teacher vacancies in the fields of English as a second language (ESL) and foreign languages. Apart from these fields, the percentage of public schools in rural areas that reportedly could not fill teacher vacancies was not measurably different from the percentages in other locales. (Indicator 3.11)
  • In public schools, the average number of students per counselor, social worker, school psychologist, and special education instructional aide was lower in rural areas in 2003–04 than in cities at both the elementary and secondary levels. (Indicator 3.12)

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