NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Rural Communities Would Benefit from School Choice

October 7, 2014

While almost half the states offer school choice options for students, many rural areas offer little in the way of school choice. Many believe that school choice is not an effective option for those in rural communities which often have low budgets and face high transportation costs. But Lindsey Burke, fellow at the Heritage Foundation, explains why school choice has a lot to offer rural communities.

Burke explains that virtual charter schools open the door to courses and material that would otherwise be unavailable to students. For example, just 34 percent of rural schools offer Advanced Placement classes -- a number that could change if students could take virtual classes, allowing them to learn without the limits associated with a brick-and-mortar classroom.

Moreover, charter schools have proven to improve outcomes for all students, even those who remain in public schools, because they create competition and encourage schools to improve their performance.

Rural areas may have fewer resources, but by making education funding flexible and allowing dollars to follow students, rather than confining them to use within the traditional public school system, Burke says that policymakers could create a vibrant education market.

Burke encourages states to allow online charter schools to operate within their borders. Such choice would help all students across the state, especially those in rural communities whose schooling options are limited.

Source:  Lindsey Burke, "Is School Choice Feasible in Rural States?" Daily Signal, October 3, 2014. 


Browse more articles on Education Issues