New "Why Rural Matters" Report Now Available

Why Rural Matters 2015-16


(PDF/164 pages)
Press Release

As the 2016 presidential election has brought newfound attention to rural areas, a new 50-state report urges state and federal leaders to make rural students and their communities a far greater priority.

The new edition of Why Rural Matters, from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rural School and Community Trust, provides an overall “priority” ranking of the 50 states, showing the greatest needs in rural education. The report also ranks the states and includes state-by-state data on demographics and poverty, student achievement, state resources, and college and career readiness.

“While some rural schools thrive, far too many rural students face nothing less than a national emergency. Many rural schools and districts face vastly inequitable funding and simply cannot provide the opportunities that many suburban and urban schools do,” said Robert Mahaffey, the executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust, based in Washington, D.C.

Rural schools offer many attributes of quality schools that parents want for their children: smaller settings, personal attention, and a strong sense of community and identity. But many rural schools and students face serious challenges, the report shows.

Some of the Why Rural Matters report’s key findings:

For more information, contact the Rural School and Community Trust. The full report is available at and

Rural Policy Matters is published monthly by the Rural School and Community Trust.
For subscription information visit

Comments, questions, and contributions for Rural Policy Matters should be sent to:

Policy Program
Marty Strange, Director
41 Graham Street | Bethel, VT 05032
Phone: (802) 728-5899 | Fax: (802) 728-2011

Robin Lambert, Editor

National Office
4455 Connecticut Avenue, NW | Suite 310
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 822-3919 | Fax: (202) 872-4050

© 2011 The Rural School and Community Trust