Sending Off All Your Good Treasures: Rural Schools, Brain-Drain, and Community Survival in the Wake of Economic Collapse

Based in qualitative interviews and ethnographic research conducted in the remote rural town of "Golden Valley," California, this paper explores the roles of schools and education in structuring rural community life in the wake of economic devastation caused by the timber industry collapse in the region. We look in depth at the ways in which education is either valued or rejected by community residents in their struggles to keep their children nearby and promote a viable future for their community. We critically investigate the ways in which brain drain is perpetuated within the community, and how moral categories constructed around perceptions of a family's moral worth influence the amount of encouragement or support children receive with regard to education and future prospects within or outside of the community. We find that in the new economic landscape, moral and class divisions within the community are magnified and reproduced through the local school system, with results that may consign some young adults to a life outside of the community, and others to chronic economic insecurity.

© Journal of Research in Rural Education 2011. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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