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ERIC Number: ED370733
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 4
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Rural Schools and Modern Visions.
Purdy, Deirdre
Across the Ridge, p6-8 Spr 1994
In 1991 West Virginia's governor announced a 10-year statewide plan that would close 245 schools, primarily in poor, small, and rural communities, and replace them with larger, more "efficient," more urban facilities. The controversy surrounding West Virginia school closings stems from the clash of two sets of beliefs and values. The people in power--legislators, bureaucrats, and school administrators--have visions of the future and of educational progress based on positive views of modernity and urbanization, while their conception of the rural present is based on stereotypes. These beliefs have the ultimate effect of eliminating small schools and the sparsely populated places they serve and sustain. Traditional Appalachian culture is generally stereotyped as passive, fatalistic, and too satisfied with the present. In contrast to these and other, more denigrating, media stereotypes, the rural Appalachian lifestyle encompasses such traditional American values as thrift, productive labor, community, family values, and self-reliance, and also allows time for just living, a quality of experience often lost in more efficient "modern" lifestyles. Educators believe that they should raise students' level of expectations from the present-oriented rural way of thinking and prepare students to leave home in search of a future somewhere else. A more innovative approach to rural education, emphasizing self-study and local analysis, would surely produce some students who would stay and develop an economically viable rural home in the 21st century. Such an approach, pursued in small schools and rural communities, could fulfill the brave promises of educators and politicians and allow rural people to control their destiny. (SV)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia