This special topic takes stock of the current state of rural education finance and policy research. Taken together the articles in this special topic highlight a major point. Rural districts and schools not only differ from those in urban areas but also differ from one another. This is perhaps not surprising given the heterogeneity of school size, community size, demographics, and the degree of rurality of schools across the United States. The articles pose a challenge for policymakers. Policies that serve one state or one rural community may not be relevant or helpful to another. Policy solutions must recognize the diversity of education challenges across and within states.

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Published in AERA Open.

© The Author(s) 2021

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