Politicians always need “issues” these days so they can show voters how concerned and involved they are in improving the nation. Inside Higher Ed has a story today on a new one — the supposed need to get more rural kids into college, but not in such a way that they’ll want to leave the hinterlands and get “one of them big city jobs.”
This is much ado about nothing. People living in rural areas probably understand much better than politicians whether they can learn what they really need to without earning a degree. They also do not see that it’s a “problem” that a smaller percentage of kids from rural areas go to college than do kids from urban areas. Furthermore, why suppose that there is a need to deter bright rural kids from leaving? The nation’s rural areas will survive the exodus of some people. No social engineering is necessary.
Many politicians like to treat farms and rural life like little pets to be trotted out and groomed occasionally. Years ago when I lived in Michigan, a legislator was pushing anti-development legislation on the grounds that if farms were sold and developed, city folks would find it too hard to take their kids out to the country to see cows and sheep and goats and chickens.