Education and Economics in Southern Appalachia
The Southern Appalachian region of the United States often has been characterized as rural, depressed, and uneducated. Over time, and with the concerted efforts of federal and local governments and private sector investment, local economies and educational expectations and opportunities have changed. The industries of the early to mid-twentieth century (viz., coal and timber) have given way to the service sector. White-collar jobs are replacing blue collar ones.
Educational levels are increasing. Quality of life is improving. Yet, from these generalities, we also recognize that within pockets of Southern Appalachia things are not improving. Educational levels remain low. Jobs are few. Unemployment levels are high. No longer can we speak of Southern Appalachia as one region or culture. There are apparently two Southern Appalachias.
One is becoming rather affluent while the other remains preserved with the dysfunctions, lack of opportunities and hopelessness of yesteryear. This research, relying on both primary and secondary data, explores the relationship between shifting economies, literacy and education and their impact on the quality of life for the region and its people.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)