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Thu Oct 16, 2014, 11:20 AM

Helping People in “Coal Country” as the Nation Divests from Carbon

Recommended read!

Helping People in “Coal Country” as the Nation Divests from Carbon
Written by Rick Cohen
Friday, 03 October 2014

In the wake of increasingly successful divestment actions aimed at carbon-producing industries, coal has turned into the new tobacco. While even natural gas mining has its vocal supporters despite the dangers of fracking, the supporters of coal are shrinking as the “clean coal” touted by candidates of both political parties looks more and more like an oxymoron.

But what about the people who live in coal country? What is happening to them as the institutional investors withdraw their assets from the companies topping the Carbon 200 list? As institutional investors including foundations pull their assets out of coal, are foundations and others dealing with the impacts on the populations of Appalachian communities and other places?

AP writers Adam Beam and John Raby wrote last week about the closing of mines in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, historically one of the poorest regions of the U.S., and the shrinkage of their public school populations. Because school funding typically tracks school populations, the loss of students due to families moving out of coal country means that schools in places like Pike County, Kentucky, and McDowell County, West Virginia are hard pressed to provide quality educational programming or even stay open. Beam and Raby reported on children in these rural communities facing longer and longer bus rides to and from school.

“Except for moving, there’s not a lot that can been done,” they write, and that’s part of the problem. Many people are fleeing coal country because of the lack of jobs and opportunity. As major national philanthropies cut back on or eliminate their rural grantmaking programs, the message, subliminal or otherwise, that some foundations are sending to these rural families is similar: If you want to improve your lives, pack up, get a bus ticket to a big city, and move.... MORE at link provided above.

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Reply Helping People in “Coal Country” as the Nation Divests from Carbon (Original post)
theHandpuppet Oct 2014 OP
theHandpuppet Oct 2014 #1

Response to theHandpuppet (Original post)

Thu Oct 16, 2014, 11:30 AM

1. Related article regarding the effects on education in the region

And as these schools shutter their doors, there go the educational opportunities, the community hubs and the hope.

As families flee coal country, schools struggle

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Enrollments in eastern Kentucky public school districts are falling as the region continues its economic struggles amid a declining coal industry.

The issue has a direct impact on school funding. The largest factor determining how much money a public school gets from the state is its average adjusted daily attendance.

Two independent groups, the Council on Better Education and the University of Kentucky's Center for Innovation in Education, are studying the state's Support Education Excellence in Kentucky funding program, also referred to as SEEK.

A draft of the Council on Better Education's study by the consulting firm Piccus Odden & Associates suggested the state could use the greater of a three-year rolling attendance average to give districts more time to adjust to declines in funding while not penalizing districts that are growing.... MORE at link provided above.

A list of declining eastern KY school enrollment, by county, is included with the article.

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