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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Photos & Assignment


The Photos blog has been updated! Click the link on the right hand side of the page to see thrilling photos of our first four weeks of class!

Also, please leave your questions/comments for the guest speaker this week in the comments below!

14 comments:

  1. Born and raised in a particularly rural area of Central Appalachia myself, this article hit pretty close to home. I have never really seen statistics about poverty in Appalachia, but I have witnessed firsthand the effects it has on families and on individuals. Like many other college-educated young people from this area, I do not plan on returning to the place where I grew up; there simply are not available jobs or adequate educational opportunities. Moving back, to me, would be a huge step downward when it comes to possibilities for employment and other life goals. Readings like Ziliak's, however, make me feel extraordinarily guilty for my life decisions. Part of the problem in Appalachia is that educated, skilled individuals leave and do not return to rural areas that can benefit from their knowledge and ability. With all this in mind, I wonder about what it would take to encourage me to want to move back to the rural region I still call home. Can there ever be incentive for young people to remain in Central Appalachia? Could the government provide any kind of worthwhile incentive?

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  2. Though half the state we live in makes up a great portion of the central region, I didn't know much about the Appalachia region before reading this article. In Ziliak's article, he touches on the subject of lack of education, just one of many factors that have caused poverty in the region. If education in the region were improved, and more people could graduate high school, could that improve the lives of the individuals and lead to a more educated community?

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  3. The research addressed in this article divides Appalachia into three regions, each with a distinct set of economic strengths and weaknesses. This division of Appalachia makes it clear that the central region has not improved, relative to the rest of the country, as well as the Northern and Southern regions have since the ARDA Act of 1965.

    The PARC report of 1964 called all of Appalachia “a region apart.” Currently, based on the data in this article, only central Appalachia still fits this idea as all of Appalachia once did. Because central Appalachia, then, is the current “region apart,” wouldn’t it make sense to look more closely at future policy investments that are targeted specifically at central Appalachia rather than maintaining the understanding of this region-in-need that was developed in 1965? Have there been any studies that evaluate the possibilities for federal investment (similar to ARDA) that more specifically targets central Appalachia?

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  4. I grew up in East Tennessee, and, like Katie, have been exposed to a lot of the poverty- stricken rural areas of Appalachia. Though I did not experience much of it directly, I can relate to what the article discusses. I understand that government policies and grants and health care are all very important in improving these aspects of Appalachia, but I would like to know if there is anything we can do as individuals to help these situations...? Locally, is there something we can do, or do we leave it up to the government?

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  5. Though the statistics outlining the increased levels of poverty in "female-headed families" are indeed troubling, they are not as new to me as much of the other data in this article is. I would like, though, to better understand why "the implications of these family changes for family poverty are larger in Appalachia than in non-Appalachia areas," especially since the author is careful NOT to say that the increase in numbers of female-headed families is greater in Appalachia than elsewhere in the country.

    Why, then, are the implications of this change in family structure greater in Appalachia if the number of families impacted is not greater? Are there ways to create policies that can address these specific differences between Appalachia and the rest of the country rather than relying on more global "policies that encourage healthy marriages?"

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    1. i just read a text in another class about the history of marriage written by stephanie coontz. a lot of it has been strikingly interesting information, but one of the last chapters kind of addressed this same thought. actually, when i was reading ziliak's piece, i also had trouble with the part about encouraging healthy marriage. mainly because i am not entirely convinced in the sanctity and functionality of marriage as it exists today. but i digress..

      what i mean to say is that there is a section in which coontz addresses the likelihood (or not) of low-income women marrying. she says: "But many women today see no point in marrying unless their prospective husband has both the economic prospects and the emotional dependability to make pooling their resources worthwhile. 'I don't need a husband to help me scrape by,' a welfare recipient told me. 'I can scrape by on my own. Find me a man who's got a steady job and a mortgage and no jail time in his past, and I'll marry him pretty damn quick.' Another chimed in: 'I got two kids, and the last thing I need is a man who's gonna be a drain on my wallet and my heart.'"

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  6. I am currious how the identity of rural appalachian people has changed due to the action taken based their poverty levels. How have the programs influenced them culturally beyond things such as healthcare and education? (Have social structures changed amongst people in the area who are educated and those who remain uneducated? etc)

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  7. I am curious about the potential "poverty trap" in Appalachia mentioned in the article. In political science courses taken at Transy,I have read extensively on how poorer regions (often 3rd world countries in class context) are exploited by wealthier regions for the labor and resources, creating a perpetual cycle of poverty.

    How does the rest of the country play a role in creating the poverty trap in the Appalachia? How might Lexington play a role? How can our community play a role in helping the Appalachia region?

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  8. As a citizen from Eastern Kentucky (Perry County), I have seen firsthand the effects of economic inequality. I can go from one street and see a Ferrari, yet go to another part of town and see people so impoverished that they cannot even afford their own vehicles. What is your opinion on the effects of education and its effectiveness in combatting economic equality in Appalachia?

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  9. In my home town of Versailles, which is decidedly Central Kentuckian, there are more than a few families who have resettled in the Bluegrass after leaving Eastern Kentucky. It seems to me that these families are part of a new wave of people leaving Appalachia in search of better education and employment opportunities for themselves and their children. It's easy to think of these families (one with a plastic surgeon father, the other with a dad who's an employee of the federal government - it should be said that the eldest sons in both are currently attending Harvard) in terms of "overcoming circumstances." It seems that their success could be chalked up to the "American Dream," but what must be done in Appalachia to ensure that "getting out" isn't the only option for individuals that hope to better their lives?

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  10. My question is similar to Katie's. While I have not seen firsthand the economic inequality of living in Appalachia because I am a Western Kentucky native, I can understand not wanting to move back to an area that doesn't have a lot going for it. I have no intention of moving back to my hometown and like many people, I'm drawn to larger cities. How does Appalachia expect to have incentives for young, educated people when today's economy has resulted in job loss across the nation? Areas that are considered to be doing well are still losing educated people to major cities where more jobs are available. Not only would Appalachia have to overcome it's impoverished roots but it would have to rise above areas that are considered to be doing well also.

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  11. Health care in Appalachia is definitely lacking, especially in the rural, isolated areas. The article makes the point that the cities have considerably more resources than smaller towns and hamlets, and I cannot help but wonder what the state of health care is in said regions, or if their is any healthcare at all. How can the government get better clinics and hospitals to these isolated areas and then make the necessary care available and affordable?

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  12. While I wasn't raised in Eastern Kentucky, my family is from there and I have lived there for the last 4 years. My parents both sought higher education and left the area soon after obtaining degrees. I find my family's case interesting in that we have relocated back to the place my family had to leave in order to get the careers they wanted. I live near Morehead, which is a college town and I find that it is dramatically different than the town over where I attended high school. One of the things about Morehead is that it attracts business and different facilities on account of the university. In the small town where I attended high school, you see many failing small businesses and a less equipped hospital (no maternity ward, for example). I've started to realize also that Morehead has a thriving arts community who remain in the community rather than leaving and a prominent folk art center. You can also see the same kind of things happening in places like Berea, KY with their college and artisan community. The article mentioned a little bit about the lack of amenities such as arts and recreation. I'm interested to know how the presence of higher education institutions effect Appalachian communities especially toward the arts. Do these institutions located in Appalachia foster a better appreciation and a stronger sense of community for the area in which it is situated?

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