Why Many People from Indiana Do Not Seem Well-Educated

I hate to say it, but I have noticed that a lot of folks from that part of rural Indiana around Delphi cannot spell, punctuate or use grammar to save their lives. Many can barely write a proper English paragraph.

Indiana has a low rate of college graduation, something like 11%. That’s very much on the low side for the US.

It’s not much that the people there are dumb. They’re probably around as smart as anywhere. But I have been told that most people in Indiana who are college material either leave the state for university or go to university in Indiana and then leave the state for work. So what is happening is that plenty of bright people are being born and brought up in the state, but most of them are taking off around college age for school and later for work.

So what’s left is a lot of people with a high school education who can’t write English very well.

In their defense, I would say that if you live in a town like that, you simply do not need a university degree, and you sadly you don’t even need to be able to write a proper English paragraph. The jobs that are available there mostly don’t care how well you write and a degree is not needed for most of the jobs. No one cares if you can’t write proper English, so there is no social penalty for not writing well. Humans are basically lazy. If there’s no overriding reason to learn something, they usually don’t bother. Instead humans are adaptive. They learn whatever they need to learn to do whatever they need to do. Anything more is seen as superfluous and a waste of time. Some people like me learn things as a near-sensual activity, but I’m not a normal or typical person and most folks don’t have that same attitude towards learning new things.

They are being raised in working class communities where the emphasis is just to graduate high school and go get yourself a job. There’s no premium or status given to intelligence, education, erudition or knowledge.

So this tends to discourage people from self-educating themselves, which believe it or not, even people like me have done a lot of.

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37 Comments

Filed under Education, Higher Education, Labor, Midwest, Regional, Sociology, USA

37 responses to “Why Many People from Indiana Do Not Seem Well-Educated

  1. You are correct about that,but it is the whole USA,including myself.If you don’t use it,you loose it.We are not required to write everyday like you,so we forget😊

  2. Mer

    Indiana’s college graduation rate is around 36%. California is 37%. The average for the country is around there. Some states have exceptionally higher rates–Iowa and Massachusetts. Some are lower–New Mexico and West Virginia.
    Indiana is home to Purdue, Notre Dame, IU, Ball State, Butler, the list goes on. It also notably would include the prestigious Wabash College and Rose-Hulman Inst of Technology, considered one of the best engineering schools in the US.
    People do go to College and Universities in Indiana. They can go to some buttoned down college like Depauw or Hanover, or they can go to some hippy college like Earlham or Manchester.
    They often get jobs out of state after they graduate. Indiana’s economy is agriculture and manufacturing. We are in the rust belt.

  3. Sun

    Yes, in a rural environment, there are only so many jobs requiring education. The demographics match the opportunities. A rural county can only support a limited number of attorneys, physicians, engineers etc. In my experience, rural professionals are generally perfectly fine in their jobs, especially considering their relative isolation and lack of professional peers.

    Unless routinely exposed to a large variety of people – say through church, particular types of employment, or by living in a small town – most people don’t see the true range of humanity out there in terms of intelligence. Even in the large municipal area where I live and work, not many realize there are people among us who are barely literate. But, if these people work reliably and are otherwise happy with their lives, they are an important part of our society and I am grateful they are here.

    As you have discussed here before Robert, intelligence is not nearly the likely indicator of happiness or success that many people think. There are plenty of dumb smart people. This is why I’m not particularly interested in measuring intelligence.

  4. Boilergirl

    The thing is that Delphi is only 15 minutes from the home of Purdue University one of the top schools in the country with brilliant minds and a large greater community of very educated people. The people that can’t blend with that crowd voluntarily, self select to remove themselves. These are the people who choose to populated Delphi, Battleground and many other nearby communities. With the self selection away from the educated community 15 minutes away come massive drug use, very few post high school educated people and lots of people who choose to live on that fringe of life…….and yes very poor spelling and basic grammar. You would have to choose to live 15 minutes away to be among the educated and more socially civilized.

    • Sun

      This is very interesting Boilergirl. Is Delphi that bad? I am not personally familiar with it. Is it in an agricultural area? To me that can make a difference. If you are in a rural area where you can’t make a living off the land, and other employment options are slim, the population can indeed be different. Likewise, if you are a farmer, you would not necessarily prefer to live in a metropolitan area. I know farmers who detest urban environments. I do agree that unless you like nature and the outdoors, it is hard to see how someone that needs work would not otherwise choose a nearby city to live in. But some people do prefer rural environments and to be more alone because they are more comfortable socially and psychologically.

  5. Georgia

    This is funny coming from a guy who has no real job and begs people for donations. No different than a panhandler standing in front of Wal-Mart drive, but then goes home to their nice apartment.
    If you are such an amazing writer, why would no magazine or newspaper pick you up to write for them. If you were so great, wouldn’t they allow you to write from home?
    Some don’t write for a “living”. I’d like to see your math skills put up to test with engineers from Purdue.

    • Sun

      As I sense we may all be saying goodbye to Georgia soon, it may be helpful to draw from his/her comment that there is a sense among people in the rural midwestern areas that they are looked down upon by others. I personally don’t get that from you Robert, but people are sensitive to it.

      Listen to the song “Flyover States” by Jason Aldean. Do not listen to it until you have had a chance to stop laughing at this suggestion. Better yet, watch the video, completely to the end. There is a reason the song became a #1 hit. It so completely expresses this feeling that I have seen grown men moved to tears by it.

      The midwest is full of people who simply “get on with it”, and who are proud of who they are and what they represent. And yes, many are even intelligent.

      • Georgia

        Sun,
        Yes I assume I will be banned, no worries! Only reason many of us come to this sight recently is because of Delphi info. Never heard of this Robert guy until Delphi.
        IN is like any other state. Like Boilergirl mentioned certain areas have their scum. But as an example California where Robert lives is very beautiful and has intelligent people. But then CA also has some of the worst urban scum in the nation. CA is also very rural in areas, one of the most diverse for farming in the nation. Each state has its positives and negatives, but we all join together to make a great nation.
        IN is a fly over state, but just like the rest of middle America are proud about it. We grow and produce many great things for the rest of the world.
        Also, about intelligent minds…check out NASA. Most of our US astronauts came from and Indiana school…Purdue “cradle of astronauts”. Plus one of the top ranked schools in nation for Ag and Engineering. Not to mention the other great schools Mer pointed out.

        • Sun

          Beautifully stated, Georgia.

          It would seem that several of us did not know of this site until the Delphi homicides. It has been a bonus to engage in comment feedback on peripherally-related topics like this one. I hope Robert continues to do these types of posts.

          I think we are all being educated by the divergent viewpoints that both existing and newer visitors bring to the table. There aren’t many opportunities elsewhere on the internet for people to participate in these discussions in a calm and open-minded environment. Isn’t that remarkable…

    • Looptyloo

      Oh lord the fab 5 trolls found you here
      Aly,snow,Brian,hope,Sharon plz go away

    • All right, you are banned. My Math scores are not good. I barely made it through High school math. I had to take Algebra 2 twice and even in summer school where he held my hand and I still got a D. My father was pissed. I am in the 70th percentile in the US when it comes to math, but that means nothing when it comes to higher math courses. So you see when it comes to math, I am a bit of a dummy.

      When I was healthy, I worked in the field. I was an editor of a magazine and and a proofreader. I was a freelance writer for a while. And I published a lot of stuff in free papers. Most people who write well are not employed in the field. There’s not a lot of work out there. Many of the best writers often work at another job.

      I am not healthy enough to work full-time or even regulated part-time, and I have not worked at a regular steady job for 21 years. If I didn’t have my trust fund, I would try to get disability.

      And I do write for a living. This website is where I write for a living. People who donate are buying a subscription to this site, which is the equivalent of subscribing to a newspaper or magazine or buying a copy of a newspaper or magazine on the a newsstand. My donators are actually hiring me to write for them, and I feel obligated to produce for them as they are paying my salary. If I do not write for them, it is as if I am screwing off on my job. If I do that, they should fire me, that is, quit coming here or quit paying my salary.

      If I did not have this trust fund, I would try to get on Disability.

      I just published my first book, or really a chapter in a book. It is an 80 page chapter in a book to be published out of Turkey. It took me ~500 hours to write that, which is ~3 months work at a regular job. 500 hours work is pretty good for a panhandler who sits on his ass all day and never lifts a finger. Unfortunately, the pay is quite poor for this type of writing, which is academic writing. Like I said, writing does not pay much.

      Also, you are banned, sweetheart.

      HAND!

    • Who ever said I was an amazing writer? I am not aware that I said that. People like me don’t take too kindly to gross spelling, grammar and punctuation errors you know. It goes with the territory.

  6. Mick Johnson

    Many Indiana people have what was once called common sense. It is a conservative state …but not blindly right wing on all issues.

    When Pence was governor he engaged in a childish and ongoing battle with the duly elected superintendent of education,Glenda Ritz. Not much attempt to compromise and work together was evident. His behavior soured some of his base and it is very likely he would have lost the next election.

    On the other side of the aisle, Birch Bayh served many years as a very active liberal senator with an outstanding legislative record. When he strayed too far from center, Dan Quayle beat him by almost 10 points in the 1980 Jimmy Carter backlash election..

    His son Evan Bayh was also a senator and governor of the state. He failed to learn from his father’s mistakes and withdrew from the election in 2010 when it became apparent that his agenda was not representative of the people of the state. He returned to run for his old seat in 2016 but had not actually lived in Indiana for some years. He was badly beaten by Todd Young.

    Richard Lugar was another politician who enjoyed great popularity in the state but he also did not listen to the people and suffered the same fate as the others when he lost in the primary to a terrible candidate who was later beaten by Joe Donnelly in 2012. Joe is feeling the heat and will either straddle the fence or lose his seat in 2018.

    I voted for all the men described above every time they won and voted against them every time they lost.

    Hoosiers vote in their own best interests which is where the common sense comes into play.

  7. aaron

    If Rob is so smart as he claims, why would he write something bashing most of his visitors coming to his blog recently? A lot of the people checking in are from Indiana who are following Delphi situation.
    No more donations from us dumb Midwestern folk. Well I guess as Mick stated, we have common sense and probably weren’t giving him a dime anyway!

    • Coco Van

      In Robert’s defense, people can visit and keep their opinions to themselves! It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard, so somebody must have been a rude ass to warrant a whole post about a community. Generalizations and stereotypes are such for a reason, no?

      Find some tea folks and sip that shade!

      • Yeah I do not know about the area of Northwest Indiana, but the area of Delphi and the surrounding area is really starting to piss me off. I cannot believe all of the hate I have received from that community and a few of the surrounding towns. I am actually starting to hate Delphi and the people in it. Not all of them, of course, and if any of them are ok, I am ready to be friends with them, but there’s just been way too much hate thrown my way over this. You hit a man enough time, and he might just start hitting back, you know?

        I don’t have much more to say on that, but if anyone from that town or the surrounding area wants to be nice and friendly to me, I will absolutely be your friend. I think I do have a few friendly posters from that community. So I have no preconceived prejudices from anyone just for being from that area. I will take everyone as an individual. People from that area are urged to try me, you just might like me, as the commercial goes.

        • Sun

          Have you sleuthed murders in this manner before? Were they for murders in towns of this size?

          Trying to put oneself in Delphi’s people shoes… They are going about their lives, and then there’s a horrible double murder, and then several of them are being sleuthed for it, 99% of them innocent.

          I know we talk about welcoming being investigated if we are innocent. But on the ground in the town where it happened, that probably takes on new meaning. Everyone knows you and you live there. And crazy people can find your home via the internet and harrass you. You can’t get away from it and there’s no anonymity. As Brenda explained, some people on the internet thought her late husband did it, and the resulting harrassment has affected her life. At least one other person has reportedly left town due to similar harrassment.

          The entire town must be on edge. It is a small town where lots of people know each other, and where many people never wanted or expected notoriety.

          Not that it’s wrong to sleuth. And this site does take pains to attempt to limit the ability to identify people. It just explains why people might be reacting this way. They might not be erudite or have experience in conflict resolution, which makes productively expressing their frustation more difficult.

          I really hope more local and somewhat local people do not do things to get themselves banned. They can be so valuable to the discussion. If they can find a way to vent without getting banned it would be great. Or maybe they get an extra chance to move forward. Georgia is a great example of a commenter who had some great thoughts once he/she expressed initial frustration.

    • PaulC

      Reading comprehension is not a strength of yours . He said they are not dumb, that the jobs do not require college education or quality writing skills. He also said a lot, meaning their are plenty of exceptions. He also pointed out the plenty of Indianans pursue an advanced education, but leave the area to find work.

    • Because these Delphi and surrounding area people are really starting to make me mad, that’s why. I’m actually starting to hate them. You hit a man enough times and he might just start hitting back, you know.

      Also, you are banned.

      HAVE A NICE DAY!

      • Kim

        I don’t blame you Robert. There seems to be an inordinate amount of negative energy coming from many of the commenters in IN; also very much apparent on their FB groups. Much name calling and asking if one is “local” or not. Being local seems to single one out for especially vituperative attacks, with the exception of yourself, who has probably earned a special place in their minds (mostly due to in-depth observations in the interest of helping solve this crime) 🙂

        Using Loopy’s “pond scum” analogy, such behavior gives me an impression of a lot of fish who have lived in a culturally small pond, barren of opportunity for a long time, developing long-simmering hatreds towards their neighbors. One earlier commentator painted this picture nicely. It probably has more to do with the lack of opportunity and historic cultural milieu described earlier (eg. White supremacists, religious home schooling, other aspects too vast to mention here) than IQ/education per se.

        You and Mer both seem to have correct statistics. Regrettably, my view of IN is not as rosy as when these girls were first killed. But I am in this totally for those girls killer to be found, hence, it’s easy for me to ignore the other junk.

    • You are doing something that a lot of people who do not think well do. You are confusing intelligence with wisdom. I would say that average intelligence people make this mistake, but I have also seen many intelligent and very intelligent people make that mistake.

      They are two different things. Intelligence honestly is simply the speed of your brain and it is mostly just a gift from God, unearned and hence nothing to crow over. And inborn gifts don’t make a man better than another. Perhaps achievements might.

      What you are saying is that it was not wise to make residents mad as that is where my bread and butter come from. You may well be correct that that was an unwise thing to do.

      I should not have to tell you this, but wisdom and intelligence are not highly correlated. Many intelligent and highly intelligent people with fast to very fast brains are nevertheless not very wise at all. Many of them act like complete idiots and live their lives in very stupid and idiotic ways. This is because high intelligence is no guarantee that one is wise.

      Also many people of average intelligence are very wise. Some of the wisest people of all have average intelligence. This means common sense. This means living your life in a wise way. Often as intelligence rises, wisdom goes down as people get increasingly introverted, socially awkward, anxious, depressed and just out and out weird and strange.

      You really should have known this and hence not asked why a bright guy was not wise. I shouldn’t have had to remind you of that.

      Also if you can write as proper paragraph yourself, why take it personally when someone says your neighbors can’t? They’re not you. The author is talking about them, not you.

  8. Coco Van

    Burn!!!!!!!!!!!! Lol.
    That was the most eloquent non burn burn I have ever read.

    Somebody done ticked Robert off. Well, they deserve their comeuppance, with a side of tea…..sip, sip now.

  9. Mr. Lindsay,

    While we have traded emails before, and I am not from Indiana, and I am of the understanding that graduating students numbers are over 30% for 4 yr degrees.

    I agree with you in the fact that the English language is poorly spoken, particularly in the computer age, and I think both you and I can both admit that we both have probably done that on an occasion or more.

    I don’t believe the people of Indiana want any less for their children. I wonder, perhaps, if your Delphi postings tainted you in some manner regarding your most recent posting.

    Either way, regards,

    Tom

  10. The Scholar

    Lets get some clarity on facts. So I think were confusing graduation rate with the number of people with college degrees. I did some research, the percentage of Indiana residents ages 23 – to 65 with college degrees was 33.2% in 2010. The national average then was 38.7%. Robert is correct when he states this is low and merits a 46th rating. Graduation rate would be the % of students who graduate after starting college. The Indiana rate was 55% which is very close to the national median.

    Indiana has interesting demographics. The state does have the highest
    percentage of manufacturing jobs of any state in the country. The always conservative government has always focused on manufacturing, as Indiana gives the largest property tax abatements and also has very friendly business and income tax arrangements. Also this a very agricultural state too.

    Historically, so many Indiana kids come out of high school and see the $15/hr manufacturing job and think they’re making great money. Or they work on the farm and don’t pursue the higher education. Also, Indiana does have some really great Universities (Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Etc), but a lot of these kids leave the state, as Indiana has a big Brain Drain problem.

    Robert, I see some of the facebook pages that reference you’re sight, and well lets say they speak lowly of you. I think two things happen here, they’re very conservative and close minded, and they cant stand some of your liberal discussions. Also, they don’t like that you have actual theories and information related to the case that doesn’t necessarily make the community look so good. Even though your information is somewhat speculative, they think the public shouldn’t know anything about the case and that LE is doing a swell job and the theories you post might compromise LEs case.

    • Students in Indiana go on to college at the same rate as the national average. However, many drop out from school so the graduation rate is lower. Hence the figure above of 21% with college degrees which is 46th in the US. Also it is noted that there is a brain drain where many people graduate and then leave the state to work. Many go out of state to go to university and then do not return after college. Instead they stay in another state.

      The state government feels this is a concern. Although most of the jobs were manufacturing that did not require a college degree, this is now changing as things are getting more high tech. Jobs in Indiana in the future are expected to require higher education than they do at the moment. If they cannot find talent in the state, they may leave.

      I suppose the larger question is why is the college dropout rate so high. The problem seems to be in the dropout rate not in the going to college rate.

      The brain drain is an issue but I don’t see what can be done about it now anyway.

      • Mer

        The graduation rate is around 36%

        • Your state government says that too many people drop out of college and this is a problem. The rate is too high. I guess you disagree?

          You’re a smart guy. You know that no problem ever went away because people denied that it existed. Granted this is a typical way humans use to “solve their problems” but it never works. The problem just goes on and you delay the fix and just kick things down the line forever.

  11. Jason Y

    I’ve noticed a lot of online writers won’t space paragraphs correctly, and other things. This is also true with native English speakers. However, though, in an informal setting this is fine and maybe demanded.

    • You think people like me like that? The people who were doing this were not people who could ordinarily write well but instead were just using Internet shorthand. That I can understand. Not that I like it. Even typing on Facebook chat or texting, I use proper punctuation, spelling, grammar, you name it. Anything less seems like an abomination. Think of it from my POV. I’m a WRITER. This kind of stuff makes us nuts. We see a mangled sentence, and it’s like a punch in the face. I refuse to use internet shorthand in general. It’s an abomination. It makes my head hurt just to think about it.

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