Teaching, learning, and scratching out a living in America’s rural areas is not terribly different from the problems of teaching, learning, and scratching out a living in America’s inner cities except for one thing: There are significantly fewer people in rural areas.
We know from observation as well as from research that America’s rural communities are shriveling. Kids selected as the brightest and best are encouraged to go to college and then to where the good jobs are.
And rural America is not where the jobs are.
To see how population shifts are effecting where you live, visit the Net Migrations website. The site provides reliable estimates of net migration broken down by age, race, Hispanic-origin, and sex for all U.S. counties each decade from 1950 to 2010. You can select your state and up to three counties to compare.The graph below shows the migration rates in my local area during that 60 year period. Community and school leaders might do well to look at the NetMigration data to see what messages it holds for them.
Other blog posts I’ve written about life and learning in rural America include:
- Support for Rural Vo-Tech Kids
- How Rural Schools Undermine Their Home Communities
- Schools Complicit in Rural Brain Drain
- Tools to fight rural school closure, consolidation
- Rural schools as community centers
- Entrepreneurship rural economic key
- The changing face of rural schools
- Could schools grow a local economy?
- Resourcefulness in the Web 2.0 world