Poverty in America Rural and Urban Difference (Education)

Introduction

Research Question/Problem

Government pays more attention to education in poor urban regions than in poor rural regions that leads to misbalance in the level of education in poverty rural and urban areas of the United States of America.

Background of the problem

The problem is not new as much research has been conducted in the sphere of urban and rural poverty areas. The number of children who attend school and live in poverty is too high. Research shows that the number of programs created in the sphere of education have different impact on poverty rural and urban education. Defining poverty as a notion, the World Band states the following,

poverty is hunger. Poverty is a lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation, and freedom (in Chen & Sapsford, 2005, p. 97)

A number of reforms have been developed both for poverty rural and urban regions, however, the misbalance between urban and rural poverty education can be followed. Government focuses more on urban regions forgetting about rural ones (Poverty Education in Rural and Urban Areas, 2011).

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to compare and contrast governmental impact on poverty rural and urban regions of the USA in the sphere of education. To make sure that the research is objective, the following criteria should be considered, financial support, developed educational programs, students’ satisfaction with studying, social work with children and their parents, infrastructure and technical support. Having covered these issues, we will be able to draw a conclusion about the level of the governmental support of poverty rural and urban areas.

Scope of the Study

A research is going to be conducted in the rural and urban areas of the South Dakota. These regions have been chosen not by chance. We tried to find the state in the USA where the level of urban population and the rural experience financial problems. The research is going to be concentrated on these two regions to make sure that the results we get are concrete and the possibility of the error due to high number of subjects is reduced to minimum.

Significance of the Study

The research is going to show the level of governmental concern about the influence of rural and urban poverty on education in two regions. The research will help draw conclusions about the necessity for balancing the governmental awareness of the problems in poverty urban and rural areas.

These conclusions can be used for developing the strategies aimed at balancing the support of poverty urban and rural areas with the purpose of improving social situation in the country and reducing the rate of poor people in the society as bad education leads to the increase of the poverty rates.

High level of knowledge is a guarantee of successful future and prosperity. Good education is the first step on the way to happy future not only on the level of the family but also on the governmental level. The understanding of the needs of the poverty American rural and urban schools is the first step on the way to reforming the system of elementary and secondary education.

Review of Literature

Poverty in rural and urban areas: General information

Poverty is the disaster of the whole mankind and families in different countries of the USA face numerous problems. Most of the problems are similar, however, depending whether rural or urban area is considered the priorities and the problems may be different. Considering the differences between rural poverty and urban poverty in general, it should be mentioned that the reasons and the problems people face are various.

Poor people in urban areas are more concerned about criminal situation, drugs consumption, education, numerous problems with kinds, and infrastructure. Rural poverty problems are limited to drugs consumption, unemployment, education, taxes and infrastructure (Ganong, L., et al., 1991).

Therefore, the problems connected with drugs, education and infrastructure bother people both in poverty rural and urban areas, while other issues are inherent in each of the discussed areas separately. It is obvious that the needs of people in rural and urban arias are different. However, implementing educational reforms and providing assistance to schools in various regions, government does not pay attention to the specific needs of the region, basis their considerations on the general statistics.

The problems poor urban areas face are connected with the growth of population, as some scholars state that growth of population in urban area is provided by means of the movement of poor rural people to cities which does not influence poverty rate positively (Adelman & Jaret, 1999).

Much research has been conducted in the sphere of poverty in rural and urban areas, and most of them show that rural America is poorer that urban one (Satterthwaite, 2002). However, Zimmerman, Ham, and Frank, (2008) managed to prove that products and other things related to the cost of living are not chipper in villages, as rural areas are remote from appropriate transportation system and experienced workers.

Urban arias usually offer jobs which do not require high knowledge and high professionalism level (Hines, 2002). Nevertheless, according to Schroth, Pankake, Fullwood, and Gates (2003) a rural district “has higher poverty rate than urban areas” (p. 13). It can be concluded that here in no specific knowledge in the relation to this problem and additional research is required.

In spite of those differences, rural areas are less financed in comparison to urban ones, only 9% of rural district budget is covered with federal funds, while in the cities the percentage comprises 11% (Provasnik, et al., 2007; Roellke, 2003). Such differentiation in financing is connected with the conviction that those who live in rural areas have lower demands and need less financial support. However, this conviction is false.

Educational Issues Rural and Urban Poor Areas Face

Discussing particular educational issues in the relation to poverty in different regions of the USA, it should be mentioned that poverty is one of the reasons why students drop out schools. This problem is urgent for both rural and urban areas. However, Huang and Howley (1991) state that the financial situation in rural areas is worse due to the differences in tax policies and policies in the relation to financially disadvantaged students.

A poverty gap between rural and urban population is also significant (Huang & Howley, 1991). Rural schools, being isolated communities, lack “the people, skills, and money to support schools, libraries, community centers, child care centers, and public transportation systems that poor families need to change their lives” (Nadel, & Sagawa, 2002, p. 12). Urban schools have better conditions, and they are usually supplied with better technologies.

It is obvious that rural and urban poverty areas face similar problems as the poverty definition is the same, rural schools have more needs, additional ones. Rural students’ achievements are lower due to the absence of the appropriate teachers in rural schools (one of the main reasons is low salary). Having similar financial support in the percentage correlation, rural schools spend more on different operations.

Costs on special education and transportation are higher in the rural area. In general, per-students costs in rural area are higher. The absence of the adequate financial support leads to “providing fewer programs and services, such as alternative schools, vocational programs, a wide variety of high school classes, extended day programs, and programs for special needs students” (Hines, 2002, p. 195) in rural schools.

The level of education in rural school is lower due to this problem. Highly skilled and experienced teachers do not want to go to rural areas because of bad conditions, lack of technical support and low salaries (Bauch, 2001).

Parental involvement plays great role in students’ learning. A research has shown that one of the family members works in urban poor families, while in rural poor families two parents have to work.

The conclusion is obvious, parents in urban poor families have more opportunities to follow children’s educational level that in rural areas (Masika, Haan, & Baden, 1997). The dependence of the poverty rate from the dependence on the family composition has been explored. The importance of this research is that family composition has a particular bearing on poverty in the region.

Thus, 75% of rural area are headed by both family members and on 15 % are female headed. 16.6% of families are poor if they are male-headed and 37.1% are poor if families are family headed. This tendency can be easily explained, as “the higher poverty rate for female-headed families is attributed to lower labor force participation rates, shorter average work weeks, and lower earnings” (Rural poverty at a glance, 2004, p. 3).

One of the main problems rural schools face is that government in most cases consider their needs coming out of the data collected about urban schools. However, as it has already been mentioned above, the needs of rural and urban schools may differ greatly. Furthermore, the policies created for rural and urban schools are similar, but the lawmakers should consider differences as well (Bryant Jr., 2010). Rural and urban schools are different in many things, connected both with financial and nonfinancial issues.

Considering the policies the government implements in the relation to educational system and contrary to educational needs, it is important to remember The No Child Left behind (NCLB) Act (2001). Meier and Wood (2004) reviewed this act and it turned out that the government did not only refer to the needs of the schools, but also harmed those students who lived below the poverty level.

Both urban and rural districts were impacted negatively. One of the parts of the law made teachers confirm their qualifications. Referring to the rural schools, it should be mentioned that many teachers in rural schools multiple subjects, and it seems almost impossible for them to prove themselves ‘highly qualified’ in three or even four subjects (Books, 2004, p. 117).

Theoretical Framework

Description of Theory Based upon Literature Review

The consideration of the sources devoted to the problem of urban and rural areas, poverty and education has lead to the conclusion that here is no one opinion about the differences in poverty in rural and urban areas. The absence of the common opinion about the problems which exists in rural and urban educational systems also creates a number of problems.

The necessity for this research has been created because of the absence of the understanding why poor rural and urban areas should be treated differently while creating educational programs, implementing financial support, measuring student satisfaction with studying, applying social policies and programs for helping families below poverty rate, and offering schools infrastructure and technical support.

The literature review helped us understand that continuing treating urban and rural poverty areas similarly government and other power structures are not aware of the differences in problems and need rural and urban poverty areas have.

Offering similar financial support, and sometimes even lower that in urban area, government limits the opportunities in the rural districts. If to consider the problem globally, it is possible to understand that the low literacy in rural aria automatically reduces the agricultural potential of the country. It is not enough just to grow products, it is important to evaluate the market needs, calculate the profitability and make all possible to automate the working process and reduce the costs.

Operationalized Definition of Variables

According to Census 2000 Urban and Rural Classification (2009), urban area is the area which “consists of densely settled territory that contains 50,000 or more people” and “at least 35,000 people in a UA must live in an area that is not part of a military reservation” (p. A-22). The territory which does not fit these criteria is referred to rural area (Census 2000 Urban and Rural Classification, 2009).

Financial support is defined as the budget costs the government planned to spend on financing educational sector.

Educational programs are the recent acts and laws which have been accepted in the country and referred to the educational sphere.

Students’ satisfaction is statistical notion. It is going to be measured with the rate of students who either drop out schools or have too low progress in studies.

Social work with children and their parents means the social policies directed at supporting poor families.

Infrastructure is the number of buildings necessary for appropriate learning (i.e. school building, library, classes and other rooms).

Technical support presupposes the existence of the computer classes and the availability of the Internet.

Hypothesis

The level of education in the rural area is much lower than in urban area because government does not pay much attention to the appropriate financial support, aimed educational programs, students’ satisfaction with studying, social work with children and their parents, necessary infrastructure and technical support, but implements similar facilities for both rural and urban arias on the basis of the statistical data and other considerations taken from the urban sources.

Methods

Data Collection Technique

Having set a goal to confirm the idea that poor rural arias are implemented with worse support from the side of the government, we have chosen to conduct a research with the reference to a number of issues. Each of these issues should be checked separately as well as the impact it makes on the level of education in rural poor regions. Statistical information and government reports should be considered in the chosen regions to check the financial support government spent within the latest 2 years (209 and 2009 should be considered).

The latest government educational programs should be reviewed with the purpose to state their impact on the rural and urban schools. The data should be collected about the main influential measurements (in the comparison with the present or previous acts).

To measure the student’ satisfaction with the learning process, the statistical data about students’ achievements should be collected. Furthermore, the interview should be provided with volunteers. Students should be offered questions about their wishes and needs. The revision of the schools’ infrastructure and technical support should be implemented. It is important to note each object.

Research Design

The statistical information is going to be collected before the interview to understand which problems students face and what challenges a school tries to overcome. After the statistical information is collected, we are going to conduct an interview and measure the received results.

Sampling Procedures

The research should be conducted in the schools of South Dakota. Five schools from rural and urban areas are going to be selected on the basis of the statistical information about the welfare of each of the schools. We are going to select the schools from poor regions, where the general income of the population is rather low. Students from these schools are going to be selected on the volunteer basis for interview. Sex, age, ethnicity, and other characteristic features will not be used as the criteria for sampling.

Tools, Measurement, and Analysis

Statistical analysis and interviewing are the main tools for data collection. A survey should be directed at understanding students’ needs and the inability to find what they want at school.

Family problems should also be discussed for measuring the students’ satisfaction with studying and the identifying of the presence/absence of the social work with children and their parents. The results are going to be interpreted and compared and contrasted in the form of a table where it can be seen what urban (rural) schools have and rural (urban) do not have. Measuring the results, we should be objective and fill out the table accurate.

The analysis of the results should be conducted both individually and in complex. First of all, it is important to measure the impact of each of the mentioned variables on the school in each of the poor regions, urban and rural.

Second, the complex analysis should be implemented with the purpose to confirm the hypothesis that financial support, educational programs, students’ satisfaction with studying, social work with children and their parents, necessary infrastructure and technical support are directed at satisfying the needs of poor urban areas ignoring the particular requirements stated by the rural areas in poverty.

Reference List

Adelman, R. M., & Jaret, C. (1999). Poverty, race, and US metropolitan social and economic structure. Journal of Urban Affairs, 21(1), 35.

Bauch, P. A. (2001). School-Community Partnerships in Rural Schools: Leadership, Renewal, and a Sense of Place. Peabody Journal of Education, 76(2), 204-221.

Books, S. (2004). Poverty and Schooling in the U.S.: Contexts and Consequences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bryant Jr., J. A. (2010). Dismantling Rural Stereotypes. Educational Leadership, 68(3), 54.

Census 2000 Urban and Rural Classification. (2009). US Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/glossry2.pdf

Chen, J. & Sapsford, D. (2005). Global development and poverty reduction: the challenge for international institutions. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing

Ganong, L., et al. (1991). Poverty in America: Rural and urban differences. Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Retrieved from http://missourifamilies.org/cfb/briefs/ruralurban.pdf

Hines, P. (2002). Transforming the Rural School Counselor. Theory into Practice, 41(3), 192.

Huang, G., & Howley, C. (1991). Recent Trends in Rural Poverty: A Summary for Educators. ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools Charleston WV. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED335180.pdf

Masika, R., Haan, A, & Baden, S. (1997). Urbanization and urban poverty: A gender analysis. Bridge, 54, pp. 1-18.

Meier, D., & Wood, G. H. (2004). Many children left behind: how the No Child Left Behind Act is damaging our children and our schools. New York: Beacon Press.

Nadel, W., & Sagawa, S. (2002). America’s forgotten children: Child poverty in rural America. Westport, CT: Save the Children.

No Child Left Behind (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act). (2001). US Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html

Poverty Education in Rural and Urban Areas. (2011, May 13). Poverty, education, and the American dream in contemporary rural America final 2011. Retrieved from http://povertyeducationfinal2011.posterous.com/poverty-education-in-rural-and-urban-areas

Provasnik, S., et al. (2007). Status of education in rural America. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007040 .pdf

Roellke, C. (2003). Resource allocation in rural and small schools (ERIC No. ED482323). Charleston, WV: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools.

Rural poverty at a glance. (2004, July). Rural Development Research, 100, pp. 1-6.

Satterthwaite, D. (2002). The ten and a half myths that may distort the urban policies of governments and international agencies. The 21st Century Urban Scenario: Citizens as Agents of Change. Retrieved from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dpu-projects/21st_Century/myths/pdf%20myths/Myths_complete_doc.pdf

Schroth, G., Pankake, A., Fullwood, H., & Gates, G. (2001). Rural and Urban America. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 20(1/2), 13.

Zimmerman, J. N., Ham, S., & Frank, S. (2008). Does it or doesn’t it? Geographic differences and the costs of living. Rural Sociology, 73(3), 463-486.