Many rural and low income students have limited access to resources. Sometimes their learning opportunities are limited by poor facilities, lack of family support or transportation, and other factors. For many students, the meals that they receive at school are the last meals that they receive until the next school day. Without bus transportation, many students would not have transportation to their homes. Since they live in rural areas, they cannot walk home because of distance, and they cannot depend on public transportation because it is not available. There are no parks or recreational facilities in some rural communities, so when students use the playgrounds before or after school, that is the only opportunity that they have to play basketball or baseball with their friends on an official court or field.
Many students must complete their homework assignments while they have access to computer labs. In rural and low income areas, every family does not have access to a computer or internet service. When internet service is available, it is not always a reliable or high speed connection in rural areas. Instructors in low income schools and areas should be mindful of students’ access to technology when they assign homework. If students are required to complete online homework assignments, every student will not have the resources to complete them.
Poor facilities are also an issue at rural and low income schools. Many schools are not energy efficient, and do not have central heat and air conditioning. Other schools have inadequate fire alarms and sprinkler systems, which creates fire hazards. Older facilities are not always handicap accessible, which creates accessibility issues for students with disabilities. At schools in some rural areas, classrooms open to the exterior of the building, or students must walk outdoors to change classes. Students are exposed to different weather elements as they change classes, go to lunch, go to the library, and go to the buses to go home. This also creates a safety concern, because anyone can access the school grounds, go to the classroom doors, or enter each building. If funding becomes available in the future, more resources should be provided for schools in rural and low income areas.
Read more about the poor facilities at rural and low income schools here: http://www.efc.gwu.edu/library/what-makes-education-reform-difficult-poverty-in-rural-america/