Mitigating the Rural Brain Drain: A Redesign of Dual Enrollment
Students in rural high schools are routinely underperforming when compared to urban and suburban students. Dual enrollment programs, which allow high school students to simultaneously earn postsecondary credit, has been found to improve educational attainment and future outcomes. Unfortunately, dual enrollment in its current structure is contributing to the brain drain, the sociological phenomenon where high-achieving students move away from their communities, leaving the low-achieving students behind. The brain drain exacerbates poverty and lack of opportunity, especially within rural American communities. Dual enrollment programs need to be redesigned to serve the students that will likely leave and the students that will likely stay. Not only are there long-term economic benefits to this, but also, according to Martha Nussbaum’s Central Capabilities approach, restructuring dual enrollment to expand the central capabilities of both types of students is the ethical thing to do. I argue that dual enrollment should continue to support college-bound students, but also expand into partnerships with trade schools and vocational-technical programs, making postsecondary options more accessible to the students most likely to stay in their rural community.
Peyton Michael Powers is a member of the class of 2018 of Washington and Lee University.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]