Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Obamaville, February 21 - Obama's Higher Education Dilemma


Life as an Ivy League Elitist from Harvard not Yale

The world is a strange place indeed.  A little over three years ago Barack Obama was sworn in as the eighth U.S. president to have graduated from Harvard University.  Thus he is faced with the suspicion of being an Ivy League elitist, aristocrat, privileged or whatever you may think of Harvard, this bastion of liberalism.

In all fairness, I spent several years going through the tests, stress, interviews, etc., while trying to get into Yale, another one of those Ivy League elitist schools, before finances stopped my dream and I went to the University of Arizona to play basketball.

But the Ivy League certainly has a right to seem conceited or arrogant, I mean every list of the top universities in the world shows about the same thing.  Here are the top five universities in the world.

1.  University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
2.  Harvard, University, United States
3.  Yale University, United States
4.  University College of London, United Kingdom
5.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

The third Ivy League school in this story is Princeton from New Jersey and it ranks number ten in the world.  So these three schools are all in the top ten, and two of the top three universities in the world.  It is pretty impressive.

President Obama is a 1991 graduate of Harvard Law School. He joins former President George W. Bush (M.B.A. ’75) and Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy as Harvard graduates chosen to serve as the nation’s chief executive.

You don't hear a lot of talk from the eastern establishment about Bush being a Harvard graduate and he does seem a rather odd fit with the likes of John Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt, not to mention the Adams family.

However, Obama also ended 20 straight years of Yale presidents from Bush senior to Bush junior.  The three straight presidents, Bush, Clinton and Bush, gave Yale three of their four presidents in our history.

Now some of you may wonder how Bush, Jr. could be the last Yale president and still count as a Harvard president.  That is a  real dilemma, explaining how George Bush, Jr. is the only president in our history who graduated from Harvard and Yale.  So he counts as both.  Once again you seldom hear eastern elitists talk about this fact.

Two Ivy League institutions with twelve presidents between them, not bad.  For purposes of discussion and as a matter of loyalty to New Jersey where I lived longer than any other place during my life, I must add Princeton University, the third major Ivy League school that has produced two more presidents.

So Harvard 8 (counting Bush), Yale 3 (not counting Bush) and Princeton 2 have produced a total of 13 of our 44 total US presidents.  It gets better.  Of the 44 presidents, ten never graduated from college, or as we say out east, from an institution of higher learning.

Ironically, leading the pack are the two most popular and beloved of all presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Neither attended any institution of higher learning and in Lincoln's case he only had one year of formal education at an institution of lower learning.

For education purposes, the rest of the presidents not graduating are Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland and Harry S. Truman.

So for purposes of comparison, 10 of our 44 presidents did not graduate from college.  Of the remaining 34 graduates, 13 came from three Ivy League schools, Harvard, Yale and Princeton, meaning the remaining 21 presidents came from the 5,755 other institutions of higher learning in America.

Statistically speaking that means almost 40% of all our graduating presidents (34) came from the elite three Ivy League schools, Harvard, Yale and Princeton.  Nearly four out of every ten graduating presidents are from these three.

The second half of the 20th century has been even more dominated by the elite Ivy League schools.  Since Franklin Roosevelt and World War II there have been 13 presidents.  One did not graduate, Truman.  Seven of the remaining 12 were from Harvard or Yale with little old George Bush, Jr. again representing both.  That means 58% of our graduating presidents since WWII  came from Harvard or Yale.

I say when two schools can dominate the leadership of our nation about 60% of the time, then they must be the cause of our problems brought about by their presidents.  If you do such a good job of molding the minds of our youth, then accept responsibility for the consequences of those minds you so successfully molded.

Just kidding.  But it does raise a few questions.  Still, I would never hold the Ivy League responsible for the minds it molded.  Certainly not any more than I would hold the Nobel Peace Prize committee responsible for giving Harvard's Obama the Nobel Peace Prize and watch him triple the troops fighting in Afghanistan.

Then there is Mount Rushmore National Park.

In 1927 Congress authorized this epic sculpture featuring the faces of four exalted American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.  Two were dropouts (Washington and Lincoln), one from Harvard (Roosevelt) and one from William and Mary  (Jefferson).

Since this was before FDR and JFK, both Harvard grads, watch for a new Mount Rushmore East, maybe along the  Appalachian Mountains.  I prefer a site in the Montes Agricola mountains, an elongated range of mountains near the eastern edge of the central Oceanus Procellarum lunar mare.  It lies just to the northwest of a plateau containing the craters Herodotus and Aristarchus.  On the moon my friends.

Imagine that, a story about Harvard and no mention of Jeremy Lin.

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