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Education Matters…. Unless You Are Rich and White…

December 17, 2016

NY Daily News writer Shaun King pulls no punches when it comes to assessing the political landscape, and his review of the educational background of President-elect Trump’s cabinet provides an insight into the value Mr. Trump places on scholarship.

Mr. King’s article opens with  a quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic article that has been liked on Facebook hundreds of thousands times:

If I have to jump six feet to get the same thing that you have to jump two feet for — that’s how racism works. 

To be President, Obama had to be scholarly, intelligent, President of the Harvard Law Review, the product of some of our greatest educational institutions, capable of talking to two different worlds.

Donald Trump had to be rich and white. That’s the difference.

To prove Coates’ point, Mr. King contrasts the education of President Obama with that of Mr. Trump and then contrasts the educational background of the current cabinet with that of Mr. Trump. The comparisons chillingly reinforce the notion that wealth is far more important than intellect. In all cases Mr. Obama’s cabinet (and it could have applied to the cabinets of both Presidents Bush) is far more educated and well versed in their fields than Mr. Trump’s cabinet. King concludes his article with this:

Education matters. It is often on college campuses where people are challenged with new ideas, new cultures, and opposing viewpoints that don’t quite match their own.

While Trump, and these men, may indeed argue that they don’t need advanced graduate degrees, because they are so rich and successful, I’d prefer both. Not only that, but many of these nominees, and indeed Trump himself, don’t even have a day of experience working inside of the government. These systems are complicated and robust. To see the education levels drop off so much, is not just disappointing, it could be dangerous.

We are turning education over to someone who has never attended public school, never enrolled a child in public school, and whose husband can’t even utter the words “public school” having re-named them “government schools”. We have individuals with deep roots in the fossil fuel system overseeing key functions in an are where government regulation of that industry is essential if we ever hope to control climate change. And we have an individual overseeing the treasury who made his fortune in hedge funds. Mr. King is right: it could be dangerous!

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