Are We Making Them Too Smart for Our Own Good?

July 22, 2009

Are we overeducating the students we so proudly send through the doors of our rural schools?  Is our gift to the nation and world the ticket to our own demise?  Many successful people come from the positive educational backgrounds our small, rural schools provide.  They take their varied and colorful educational experiences first to universities and on to the suburban and urban centers.  No doubt those places are better for their presence, but the gain of such environs is undoubtedly our loss.  How can we retain or regain our best and brightest?  Are we crafting our children to be too smart for our own good?

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4 Responses to “Are We Making Them Too Smart for Our Own Good?”


  1. I’ve often wondered about this subject. I don’t know if it is as much overeducation as placing more societal value on high-paying jobs as compared to fulfilling jobs and lifestyles. I know a lot of young folks who are working at a high paying job in a large corporate office building in a metro area who would rather live in a rural community but they “just can’t leave their good job” to move back home… and a rural community is always “home.”
    I love much about living in a rural area, but I often feel like I could use more intellectually stimulating activities – things that were available in the college town. Thank God for the internet.

  2. thefryeguy Says:

    I think you are absolutely correct on the influential power of societal values/pressures. How do we change that?

    I have seen and heard anecdotal evidence that youth whom return to their rural hometowns are sometimes looked down upon for not “being able to make it” in the city. These critics do not understand the youth’s return as a conscious choice. For far too many people, success = suburbs.

    There are people I know living in cities that could move back out here. They choose not to because they feel they can make more money and live a ‘better’ lifestyle in the city. Though it is not universally the case, it is most certainly the elephant in the room. How do we help them see there is much more room out here for the lifestyle they want than they may remember?

    What did people do before the internet? Just remember, there are plenty of people more remote from intellectual activities than you are.


  3. In this area of Kansas, we are uniquely set in a quadrangle with major interstates as borders and cities at the corners. I-70 to the south, I-80 to the north, draw your own north-south highways, with Lincoln, Topeka or Manhattan, Salina, Grand Island as corners.
    If we could develop/enhance a certain culture within this courtyard/backyard area of those cities, maybe those city folks would look to this area as their weekender home – much like Europeans go out to their country homes on weekends.
    I would not want to transplant city or coastal culture into rural Kansas, but enhance what we have here to a point of desirability for folks who used to prefer the leisure that cities only had to offer.
    As you said, good jobs in cities are taught as the epitome of success. We’re just shooting ourselves in the foot.

  4. thefryeguy Says:

    Interesting. This would make a good essay for the Washington County News. I’m surprised I haven’t heard the idea articulated before.


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