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This thesis examines the ways in which rural schools support or undermine rural community viability in the United States. Beginning in the late 19th century, the diverse people of the United States came under the power of a single ideology of modernization and the superiority of urban culture. This ideology has resulted in the American transition from a rural people who labored on the land to an industrialized people compelled to wander from place to place in search of work in the industrial artifice. Such lack of connection to place has had negative impacts on the environment and on the viability of rural communities. As part of the story, schools have produced and reproduced human, cultural, and social capital; supported the ideology of "progress"; and promoted the departure of rural youth to urban opportunities. The history and present circumstances of three rural groups--the Old Order Amish, the Menominee Nation, and rural Appalachians in West Virginia--illustrate how events of the national rural-to-urban transition played out locally and how schools continue to impact community viability in terms of cultural, social, human, ecological (or natural), and financial capital. Meaningful reform of rural schools requires greater understanding of the local context in which they are situated and increased attention to learning to live well in a rural place. Contains 88 references. (Author/SV)

Descriptors: American Indian Education, Educational Needs, Elementary Secondary Education, Human Capital, Role of Education, Rural Economics, Rural Education, Rural Population, Rural to Urban Migration, School Community Relationship, Social Capital

Autor: Hammer, Patricia Cahape


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