I've been off conducting research in the field for my job - we investigate "needs improvement" schools - and one of the places I visited was a school on a reservation. This is rural Nebraska, so things are isolated enough as it is, but it felt even more so that way at this school. Most of their teachers are white and live across from the school building in a little row, friends only with each other, without access to ambulances or police departments (except for the FBI, if it's an emergency). They have massive amounts of administrative turn-over - one principal walked into the school after he was hired and walked right back out.
The teachers are frustrated that they can't do much to get students out of abusive home environments. Most of the family set-ups are always in flux - cousins moving in and out, grandparents taking over for parents, students moving from house to house. Alcohol and meth abuse is a huge factor - some students start using in 3rd grade. A 2nd-grader recently committed suicide. Students are often out of school because of funerals in the community (the road you take to get to the school is a dangerous bendy road with lots of crosses on either side). Teachers say students don't see the point in doing well.
Students at this school much prefer non-fiction to fiction. And the genre they dislike most of all? Science fiction and fantasy. A couple reasons were offered for this (who knows what the real reason is):
- Those are not "their" stories. Lack of relevance.
- They don't want to escape into fantasy, they want a better reality. Like there is a certain stress point at which real life difficulties make fictional escapism totally irrelevant.
Of course, there is escapism going on - into alcohol and meth. Part of what these answers show is what the staff thinks science fiction and fantasy (fiction in general?) are "supposed to do." But I found it interesting that sf/f was the genre singled out as the least appealing.