College of Education & Professional Studies (Darden)
Communication Disorders & Special Education
Special Education (Education Ph.D.)
Per the U.S. Census Bureau (n.d.), a rural area is “any population, housing, or territory NOT in an urban area.” Specifically, a rural area is defined as the area of 5 to 25 miles from an urban area (Geverdt, 2015). Nationally, rural school districts represent nearly 20% of the student population in the United States, but limited attention is given to the unique needs of these areas by national policymakers (Johnson et al., 2018). Rural schools face multifaceted challenges that often impede educational opportunities and post-school outcomes of students, including those who receive special education services (Erickson et al., 2012; Test & Fowler, 2018). Recruiting and retaining qualified special education teachers is also a challenge in rural school districts (Bargerhuff et al., 2007; Berry et al., 2011; Horn, 2021; Mueller & Brewer, 2013). The shortage of highly qualified special education teachers in rural areas is reported to be as high as 35% (Brownell et al., 2005). Lack of financial or human resource capacity negatively contributes to students with disabilities' education (Johnson et al., 2018). Therefore, professional development opportunities are essential in supporting and preparing teachers in geographically isolated areas. Despite the challenges, there are also positive aspects of working in rural areas that may contribute to teachers’ decision in being employed in rural districts.
Rural education, Special education teachers, Rural challenges, Rural advantages
Disability and Equity in Education | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development | Special Education and Teaching
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Karadimou, Olga, "The Benefits and Challenges of Rural Special Education Teachers: Improving Teacher Retention in Rural Districts" (2022). College of Education & Professional Studies (Darden) Posters. 5.