School & District Management Report Roundup

Study: Schools Contribute to Rural ‘Brain Drain’

By Diette Courrégé Casey — September 20, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Rural schools can be a source of unity or division in areas suffering from a depressed economy, according to a study exploring the role schools play in the “brain drain” phenomenon in one economically troubled rural California community.

The article, published this month by the Journal of Research in Rural Education, focuses on a community pseudonymously named Golden Valley in a remote, forested area of California that saw dramatic job losses when a ban on timber harvesting closed local sawmills. Drawing on 55 interviews with native and longtime members of the community during 2003-04, authors Jennifer Sherman and Rayna Sage, of Washington State University in Pullman, conclude that the “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.”

They found that education was viewed differently by residents depending on their perceived moral standing in the community, with families receiving welfare or linked to the local drug trade being seen as less upstanding. Those at the bottom of that hierarchy felt a sense of alienation from and hostility toward schools, while those on the other end saw education as the only path to success and believed that meant having to leave Golden Valley.

In addition, the article discusses how schools serve as agents of brain drain—the phenomenon in which the most talented rural residents leave in search of better opportunities. It cites national statistics showing that college graduates make up 16 percent of rural residents who stay in their communities, compared with 43 percent of those who leave. Those with a high school diploma or less make up nearly two-thirds of adults who remain in rural communities, according to the article.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2011 edition of Education Week as Study: A Community’s ‘Brain Drain’ Explored

Events

School & District Management Webinar How Pensions Work: Why It Matters for K-12 Education
Panelists explain the fundamentals of teacher pension finances — how they are paid for, what drives their costs, and their impact on K-12 education.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management The Harm of School Closures Can Last a Lifetime, New Research Shows
The short-term effects on students when their schools close have been well documented. New research examines the long-term impact.
5 min read
Desks and chairs are stacked in an empty classroom after the permanent closure of Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy in Brooklyn borough of New York on Aug. 6, 2020.
Desks and chairs are stacked in an empty classroom after the permanent closure of Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy in Brooklyn borough of New York on Aug. 6, 2020. A new study examines the long-term effects on students whose schools close.
Jessie Wardarski/AP
School & District Management Video 'Students Never Forget': Principals Call for Help After School Shootings
School leaders are lobbying Congress for more financial support for schools that experience gun violence.
2 min read
Forest High School students console one another after a school shooting at Forest High School Friday, April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Fla. One student shot another in the ankle at the high school and a suspect is in custody, authorities said Friday. The injured student was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Forest High School students console one another after a school shooting at Forest High School Friday, April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Fla. One student shot another in the ankle at the high school and a suspect is in custody, authorities said Friday. The injured student was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Doug Engle/Star-Banner via AP
School & District Management Opinion In School Leadership, Busy Is a Given. Chaos Is a Choice
There will never be enough time, money, or resources to solve every problem in education, so we must learn to operate within constraints.
Kate Hazarian
3 min read
Two hands attempt to hold chaos.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week via Canva
School & District Management How Sweltering Heat Disrupts Learning and What Schools Can Do
Extreme heat is becoming more common across the United States. Schools need to start preparing now.
5 min read
A boy cools off at a fountain during hot weather in Chicago, on June 16, 2024.
A boy cools off at a fountain during hot weather in Chicago, on June 16, 2024.
Nam Y. Huh/AP