Friday, February 12, 2016

No More Prep-School Ivy League Secretaries of Education And You Can Say The Same About The Supreme Court

One of the things that I would ask either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is to promise to appoint a Secretary of Education who had graduated from public schools, gone to public universities and whose children attended public schools.  Arne Duncan, Barack Obama's first Secretary of Education, like Obama is a product of prep schools and ivy league schools.   His replacement, John B. King jr., would seem to have a similar education profile.  He may not have graduated from Phillips Andover, having been expelled in his Junior year, but he went to Harvard, Columbia, Yale and worked for one of those prep schools that cannibalize the public school system, a charter school company.

While I know there are a few people who come from that kind of background who are champions of public schools they are few and don't seem to get appointed to that position, just as they don't seem to ever get on the Supreme Court and, increasingly, are never named to high positions in federal and many state governments.  If there is one glaring problem with the Obama administration it is that he is a product of the prep school - Ivy league culture with little to no real understanding of the lives of most people. For whatever genuine liberal inclinations that he might hold, that training has effectively held it in check.  I think it had a lot to do with his administrations crippling itself by him wanting to be respected by Republicans in the Senate.   It is a culture whose stranglehold on the federal government needs to be broken and it's only going to be broken by Democrats appointing people who have been educated in public schools, in public universities who have a stake in those through their own children and who are in touch with the large majority of people who live in that world.

Update: I think that everything about Barack Obama's education policy demonstrates that he is a total and complete elitist, "Race to the Top" is emblematic of that.  In a race only one wins, everyone else loses.  He is obviously most interested in those who win and has little interest in the many who are not going to win in that kind of framing.  He is, to put it plainly, a prep-school snob of the kind I met throughout my life.  In New England they are thick on the ground and as arrogant as they come.

1 comment:

  1. Watched the debate last night, first one I know of not on cable, so even I could see it.

    Sanders talked about making it possible for all college students to attend college tuition free. When I went to college it was virtually free ($4.00 a semester hour, when minimum wage was about $2.00 an hour), but it was also state funded.

    Today Texas won't even expand Medicaid, despite the pressure from major hospitals, doctors, even counties with public ER's that need the funds to pay for indigent care. So how is it going to work that the Feds convince the public universities of Texas to take Fed money for tuition?

    I agree with you, in other words: for reasons inexplicable to me, we have (through the GOP, or Dems, or whoever) turned our backs on public education, after most of the Boomers got all the benefit of it (maybe an example of human selfishness. We got ours, now you are on your own!). And it isn't going to change because a 74 year old man says it should. The change is going to have to be systemic, and start much further down the totem pole.

    We could at least start with the Secretary of Education.....(although Bush's guy came from Houston's public school district, and was a disaster. Experience and philosophy have to go hand in hand.)