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ERIC Number: ED516681
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
The Rural Dropout Problem: An Invisible Achievement Gap
Johnson, Jerry; Strange, Marty; Madden, Karen
Rural School and Community Trust
This report reviews high school dropout rates and related factors in rural high schools throughout 15 Southern and Southwestern states. These schools are in districts that are among the 800 rural districts with the highest student poverty rate nationally. Seventy-seven percent of the "Rural 800" districts and 87 percent of the students in them are in these fifteen targeted states. These high-poverty rural school districts are more racially and ethnically diverse than all other rural school districts and all other districts of any kind. Nearly three in five of the students in these districts are people of color. Rural 800 school districts in the 15 target states operate with less state and local funding per pupil ($7,731) than for all other rural districts ($8,134) or all non-rural districts ($9,611). The gap is caused by differences in local revenue that are partially, but not adequately, mitigated by somewhat higher state revenue. Among Rural 800 districts in the 15 target states, just over 6 in 10 students can be expected to graduate, compared with 70% among other rural districts and 67% among non-rural districts. The authors identified 20 Rural 800 school districts within the 15 target states with (1) graduation rates in the top 20%, (2) 2007-08 reading proficiency rates in the top 20%, and (3) 2007-08 math proficiency rates in the top 20%. The only statistically significant difference between the 20 highest performing Rural 800 districts and all other Rural 800 districts in the same states was that higher performance is associated with smaller district size. More significant, the racial/ethnic characteristics of these districts is very different from that of the Rural 800 overall. Eighty three percent of the students in these high-performing, high-poverty district are white and fewer than one percent are English language learners. This reinforces the widely recognized reality that an achievement gap separates the performance of students of color and white students. (Contains 5 tables, 14 figures and 6 footnotes.)
Rural School and Community Trust. 1530 Wilson Boulevard #240, Arlington, VA 22209. Tel: 703-243-1487; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: AT&T Foundation
Authoring Institution: Rural School and Community Trust