Taking a job as a mathematics or science teacher in rural Kentucky or Tennessee is an appealing career choice for educators who grew up in those communities. It’s stable work, which means a lot in farming and mining towns where jobs are scarce. It pays well, in an area where the cost of living is cheap. And it allows some young educators to work in the same schools where their parents and grandparents once taught.
But persuading math and science teachers from big cities and suburbs to move to isolated communities lacking in cultural amenities is a much tougher sell.
“We’re small,” said Kristal Harne, an elementary school math and science teacher from Liberty, Ky., population 1,897. “We don’t even have a Wal-Mart.”