School closures can hit rural communities hard — The Conversation

By Emily McConville — Published on January 24, 2020

In a 2015 class, education professor Mara Tieken circulates among small groups of students as they discuss what makes good teaching. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Writing for The Conversation, Associate Professor of Education Mara Tieken argued that the closure of rural schools can devastate students, families, and communities.

Schools often close for reasons of poor academic performance, budget constraints, or declining enrollments. When they do, students’ relationships with peers and teachers are disrupted, absences go up, and involvement in extracurricular activities goes down, often because students have to commute longer distances. 

“In many rural communities, schools are the largest employer,” Tieken wrote. “They provide political power, and they tie people together. Once the schools are gone, the community loses all of these benefits.” 

Read the story: