Teaching Profession

Teacher Pay, Support Seen Common Issues Facing Rural States

By Katie Ash — April 29, 2008 1 min read

Although the issues facing rural educators vary greatly from region to region, state policymakers could help alleviate some of the challenges by equalizing the teacher-salary structures of their urban, suburban,and rural districts, advocates for rural education say.

That prescription emerged at a meeting held in the nation’s capital earlier this month by Organizations Concerned about Rural Education, or OCRE, a Washington-based coalition of about two dozen groups dedicated to the improvement of public education in rural areas.

Some states, such as Arkansas and Tennessee, “have made substantial moves to equalize teacher salaries within the state,” said Rachel Tompkins, the president of the Arlington,Va.-based Rural School and Community Trust, adding that more effort is needed.

“Rural teachers are paid 86 cents to the dollar compared to urban and suburban teachers nationally,” said Ms.Tompkins, whose group is a member of OCRE.

Lower salaries often are justified by the perceived lower cost of living in rural areas, she said.

Rural states may face other challenges, however, in competing for teaching talent. In West Virginia, for example, housing is inexpensive in the most rural areas, but the lack of suitable housing options for teachers and their families is an obstacle to recruiting and retention, Ms. Tompkins said.

From a federal standpoint, rural education tends “to get lost in the background,” said Joel Packer, the director of education policy and practice for the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, who also attended the meeting to discuss the federal No Child Left Behind Act’s role in rural education.

Better professional development and financial incentives could help, he said.

Ms. Tompkins agreed.

“States need to have a very robust set of professional-development supports for mentoring and continuous improvement for teachers in rural districts,” she said. “They should be asking, ‘What are the particular needs of rural teachers, and how are we going to provide those supports?’”

A version of this article appeared in the April 30, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Education Funding Webinar
From Crisis to Opportunity: How Districts Rebuild to Improve Student Well-Being
K-12 leaders discuss the impact of federal funding, prioritizing holistic student support, and how technology can help.
Content provided by Salesforce.org

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Juliana Urtubey, an Elementary Special Educator, Is the 2021 National Teacher of the Year
Known as Ms. Earth for her work with school gardens, Urtubey is a National Board-certified teacher in Las Vegas.
4 min read
Juliana Urtubey
Juliana Urtubey
Courtesy Photo
Teaching Profession 4 Ways Districts Are Giving Teachers More Flexibility in Their Jobs
After a year-plus of pandemic schooling, some experts are seeing momentum for district leaders to reimagine what teaching can look like.
11 min read
Teacher working at home in front of camera.
Getty
Teaching Profession Why Teachers Leave—or Don't: A Look at the Numbers
New EdWeek survey results reveal why teachers consider leaving the profession, and how the pandemic has changed their decisionmaking.
6 min read
v40 32 Teacher Retention INTRO DATA
Stephanie Shafer for Education Week<br/>
Teaching Profession We Asked Teachers How They Want to Be Appreciated. Here's What They Said
All they need is respect, independence, a break, and a heartfelt word of thanks after a difficult year.
3 min read
Image shows a teacher in a classroom.
skynesher/E+