Friday, October 10, 2014


Yet another list the city of Bakersfield shouldn't be on.

Forbes has a list of the Top 10 "most" and "least" educated cities. My hometown, the city of Bakersfield, is in the least educated group ...

Here's my take on what's happening in Bakersfield, and the San Joaquin Valley region, where 4 of the "least educated" cities are located ...

America's Breadbasket, the San Joaquin Valley, stretches from Lodi in the north to Bakersfield in the south.

As a point of comparison, think about this. With only 17.3% of the state's population holding a bachelor's degree the state of West Virginia was ranked last in the category nationally. It was even listed by The Street as the "dumbest state" in the union.

Then we have Kern County, where the city of Bakersfield is located.

Only about 14.9% of Kern County's population possess a college degree. Worse, Kern's economy pivots around extractive industries like oil & agriculture. This is critical because all the data makes it clear that this kind of economy will not put Kern County at the cutting edge of industrial or literary history. This is especially the so when the primary "private" industries in Kern County are heavily subsidized, as is the case in the region.

Throw in the fact that California (and the nation) stopped funding higher education as a societal investment - choosing instead to look at students as a loan generating profit source - and it's easy to see how Kern County gets profiled negatively as a national poster child in areas like education.

Kern County and the city of Bakersfield should be viewed as canaries in the mine, as the United States continues its 30 year race to the bottom.

- Mark 

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