The Republican Party has long had a foothold in rural America. To tighten its grip on vast swaths of “flyover country,” the party took a hard-right turn from pragmatic conservatism to more anti-science and anti-intellectual viewpoints. These anti-academic views, cultivated long before Trump ran for office, reinforce the notion that a pricey college would be of little value to a country boy or girl. And so, rural America turned its back on higher education and with it, exposure to the multifaceted experiences of others in this nation and from around the world. It’s not easy for urbanites and suburbanites to fathom the isolation of living in a Missouri town like mine, population 300. But we have seen the results of that isolation — untempered by higher education, people from rural areas are much more likely to vote for an isolationist, anti-immigrant, and anti-progressive agenda, crippling the national discourse, and along with it, any chance of political compromise. Last month, the College Board unveiled a numerical rating for SAT-takers that seeks to quantify obstacles that go beyond race and ethnicity. The Overall Disadvantage Level, or so-called “Adversity Rating,” factors in contextual data from each student’s school and neighborhood of origin, including… Read full this story
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