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Rural Education

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Rural Education

Where a child grows up and which high school they attend greatly affects further education and employment. Higher education, including college and vocational schooling, factors into employment opportunity. Research has shown that schools in rural areas have far less resources for students interested in attending college, providing less opportunity for students pursuing higher education. Wilsonville High School, located the city of Wilsonville just south of Portland, Oregon, represents a typical urban high school in an upper-middleclass city. In contrast, Cottage Grove High School, located in the small rural town of Cottage Grove, southwest of Eugene, Oregon supports a much lower income community. Both schools differ greatly in regard to variables such as average income, test scores, availability of advanced and technical classes, architectural and technological resources, minority education, local junior college participation, and funding. The cities of Wilsonville and Cottage Grove also differ greatly in the lifestyles most citizens enjoy: Wilsonville supports a highly technological community, home to corporate offices of Xerox, Nike, Mentor Graphics, and Hollywood Entertainment, while Cottage Grove’s largest employers include Weyerhaeuser Company (the Northwest’s largest lumber supplier) and other lumber corporations, as well as industrial manufacturers such as Wright Machine Corporation. The two high schools present a tradeoff between providing educational opportunities for students in lower income, rural communities and the actual demand for higher education in an industrial and agricultural community.

Community income: free and reduced meals

One of the most evident disparities between Wilsonvill...

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...should not be looked down upon. But students should have the opportunity available to them to pursue whatever career they deem worthy. Even students who hope to become local doctors or lawyers must attend college, therefore Cottage Grove should provide as much assistance and preparation for students with intent to attend college as feasible. However, Cottage Grove is confined by location and resources. While the State of Oregon allocated more money to Cottage Grove than Wilsonville, Cottage Grove’s budget is still trailing Wilsonville’s. State spending is clearly a controversial issue now, though, as government money is limited. If rural schools like Cottage Grove are to provide the same educational opportunities that urban schools do, the local economies will need to support the school, and government will have to continue to bridge the remaining gap in resources.
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