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Rural Schools: Background

Schools in rural areas and small towns face difficult challenges in serving the needs of children and public education. The National Education Association actively supports the development of programs that recognize and deal with the particular needs of students, educators, school employees and communities in the nation's vast rural areas.

Historically, rural schools have offered unique benefits and attributes—for educators, students and communities. Rural and small town schools pioneered many successful education reform tools in widespread use today:

  • Peer assistance
  • Multi-grade classrooms
  • Block scheduling
  • Mentoring
  • Site-based management
  • Cooperative learning

The success of rural education is linked with what makes rural and small town America unique. The size of the communities contributes to the strong connection among rural schools, educators, parents and communities.