More and more public high schools are moving toward a constrained curriculum, a course of study with a prescribed set of academic courses and limited student elective choices and options, which is required of all students and considered essential in building a strong preparatory foundation for college. In Michigan, for example, the Michigan legislature passed and the governor signed into law a constrained curriculum called the Michigan Merit Curriculum . The purpose of this quantitative research study was to examine and describe the educational preferences and attitudes of parents toward a constrained curriculum, including the Michigan Merit Curriculum, for students attending Michigan public high schools in the 21st century, within the context of rural communities, experiences, and values. A 46-item survey was developed and administered to parents of current students from four rural public high schools in Michigan. This study was based on a statistical analysis of 901 parent surveys. Mean scores and standard deviations were used to analyze responses to individual items on the survey. In addition, an independent-samples t-test was used to compare the mean scores, on all continuous variables, and child-graduate status. A one-way between-groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) was also used to compare the mean scores, on all continuous variables, and formal education. The major findings of this study suggested that the majority of parents from this particular population did not support a constrained curriculum because it was too rigid and restrictive. Parents preferred a core curriculum, a common set of academic classes, which was required of all students and focused on reading, writing, and mathematics, and provided some flexibility for students to choose electives based on personal and career aspirations. Except for algebra II, physics or chemistry, and foreign language, the results of this study also revealed that parents were committed to the Michigan Merit Curriculum .