E Carolyn Brown Tucker, Ph.D.
Mimosa Hill Blog
Mimosa Hill Blog
|Posted on July 16, 2015 at 10:40 AM|
Most people mistakenly think Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is actually in western Kentucky. It isn't. West Kentucky includes Paducah, Murray, Webster County . . . and Dixon. You don't have to go to places like Webster County to get to anywhere else, so we are pretty much left alone. Kind of like we like it.
While we don't really have the same cultural heritage as the iconic Eastern Kentucky dwellers you've probably heard about, we have lots of hills and ridges, low lands, wet lands, rock infested lands, and some of the prettiest flat stretches of green any farmer would drool over.
We are a proud and historically rebellious people who "bleed" blue or red around state basketball tournament time (UK or UofL). We claim to be Democrats, but most of us are really closet Republicans. We just register as Democrats so that we can vote in the primaries.
It takes only one or two farmers to feed the same number of people it used to require hundreds to feed, but maintaining highly producing farmers is critical to avoiding mass global hunger predicted in the not-too-distant future. But, despite our love of tradition and strong rural values, people don't value the rural lifestyle they once did. Rural can claim only 5% of the population, and agricultural business can claim only 1%.
We no longer live in a segregated world; global refers to economy, education, social media, politics, and religion. But the Rural South builds walls--some to keep us in/others to keep you out. Those walls serve to cut us off from the modern global community we actually need to be part of.
As a result, much angst and dissatisfaction are aimed at the rural food producer, as if we have created crops, beef herds, and chicken flocks with un-organic, GMO, gH, antibiotics, and vaccinations to make money at the expense of consumer's health.
Rural economic depression and rural education resource poverty, poorly equip the students in rural areas to compete with students of urban schools who have myriad resources, opportunities, government interventions, public awareness campaigns, corporate sponsors . . . etc. Our schools are in disrepair, disconnected from the global world and markets, and claim some of the lowest paid educators in America. Teachers often supply their own classrooms because the money is not forthcoming from states and local entities strapped for money.
Go visit one of our rural schools and compare it to what our city cousins have. Question our teachers about how much they get paid and how valued they feel. Check out the often barren facilities and then look at a school two counties over with urban resources--and a swim team with Olympic sized pool, fully equipped laser welding labs, CAD with the most up to date software, media centers with access to the most modern technologies and richest resources. Check out the average income per family here, how many kids qualify for free lunch. And find out how much benefit students receive from per pupil spending. Compare it to their urban neighbors. Then tell me what you think about Rural as Educational Minority--worthy of those funds so freely given to "poverty-stricken" urban centers with "minorities."