Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 239 pages) : illustrations, color map.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Sandra Vergari

Committee Members

Heinz-Dieter Meyer, Kathie Spring


Culture, Education Policy, Geography/Place, Metro-centrism, Place-based identity, Rural School, Education, Rural, Rural schools, Education and state, Rural-urban relations

Subject Categories

Education Policy


Diversity has been a major topic in education in recent years. However, often missing from the conversation is consideration of geographic diversity across urban, suburban, and rural school districts. Research shows that geographic place influences educational capacity, opportunities, and trajectories, as well as social life, cultural values, and individual identity. The policy process is influenced by dominant ideologies that tend to problematize rural places and favor the interests of metropolitan places. This metro-centric ideology may continue to influence educational policymaking in the United States today, as scholars have found policymakers often reuse similar urban-favored tools and solutions in the design of new education policies. Rural schools and communities may face additional barriers when education policies are designed with the resources and capacity of metropolitan schools in mind, but limited attention has been paid to metro-centrism in state education policies. This study begins to explore the existence of metro-centric ideology in the state education policy process by examining the design and implementation of four New York State (NYS) education policies in three rural school districts. Additionally, this study explores key similarities and differences in the perceptions of NYS education officials and rural school districts leaders regarding the role of rural schools in the state policy process. Significant findings from this study center around the capacity of rural school districts to implement policy requirements and the differing perceptions of state officials and district leaders regarding the role of rural school districts in the state education policy process. These findings suggests that a lack of rural voice in policy development and limited consideration of the access school districts have to non-financial resources may contribute to metro-centric features of policy design. The findings of this study lend support to the presumption that NYS education policies may often be designed with the resources and capacity of metropolitan schools in mind.