Sunday, August 12, 2018

The road to the White House runs through the Ivy League

When Supreme Court justices gather in the cafeteria, they might debate philosophy. They could also talk about Harvard and Yale, where all eight justices attended law school.

The Ivy League has also produced a larger group: potential candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Candidates are officially noncandidates until they’re not. Some names are new. Others appear on television as often as the weather forecast. The Ivy-clad possibilities include:

Cory Booker, Yale Law

Steve Bullock, Columbia Law

Eric Garcetti, Columbia

Kirsten Gillibrand, Dartmouth

Eric Holder, Columbia and Columbia Law

Tim Kaine, Harvard Law

Joseph P. Kennedy III, Harvard Law

Amy Klobuchar, Yale

Seth Moulton, Harvard

Deval Patrick, Harvard and Harvard Law

Adam Schiff, Harvard Law

Mark Warner, Harvard Law

Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law faculty

The two best-known potential 2020 candidates have run before, and neither went to Ivy League schools. Both appealed to working-class voters with lunchpail issues. Bernie Sanders is a University of Chicago alumnus. Joe Biden attended the University of Delaware and law school at Syracuse University.

To those who fret about “elites,” a caution. Many Americans are grateful that Harvard welcomed John Adams in 1751 and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1900. Ditto for Princeton’s nurturing of James Madison and Woodrow Wilson.

Sometime in the early 1990s, perhaps during a Renaissance Weekend, ground zero of the Democratic party shifted from the factory floor to the faculty lounge. Since 1988, every Democratic National Convention has chosen an Ivy League presidential candidate.

Republicans, meanwhile, chose two Yalies named Bush. In 2012, they chose Mitt Romney, who, after Brigham Young University, chose Harvard for graduate school. He graduated from its law school and its business school on the same day.

Another Ivy-garlanded Republican transferred from Fordham in 1966, then won a diploma after two years at the University of Pennsylvania. Donald J. Trump is the 16th Ivy Leaguer to occupy the White House.

Trump’s fellow Penn alumnus studied at its medical school before giving up medicine in 1791. William Henry Harrison joined the Army, commanded troops at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, and was elected president in 1840. He died of pneumonia after one month in office.

In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt summoned to the White House the football coaches of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to change the rules of college football. In 1954, the Ivy League was founded as a conference for intercollegiate sports.

The Ivy League attracts more politically ambitious scholars than do campuses west of Ithaca and south of Philadelphia. The imbalance is slowly changing. In Palo Alto, Stanford students refer to Harvard as “the Stanford of the East.”

The perfect college may not be as crucial as parents of SAT-saturated students fear. Since World War II, the most consequential, decisive presidents offered slim academic credentials: Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.

In erudition and depth of knowledge, few American politicians surpassed the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. He received five degrees from Tufts University and was proud of all five. “The odd one,” he said, “is Bachelor of Naval Science from the 1940s.”

Moynihan’s boss, President John F. Kennedy, was well educated and also self educated. He knew how to keep education in perspective. In June of 1962, he journeyed to New Haven for an honorary degree. He name-dropped first, then offered an inside-Ivy zinger:

“As General de Gaulle occasionally acknowledges America to be the daughter of Europe, so I am pleased to come to Yale, the daughter of Harvard. It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds: a Harvard education and a Yale degree.”


Social media posts could ruin your college dreams, lawyer warns

Merely following Alex Jones on Twitter almost cost one teen a college admission. Another lost his scholarship over a Facebook message about the 2016 election. Anything you post can and will be used against you, a lawyer tells RT.

“It’s absolutely troubling what some of the colleges are doing,” attorney Bradley Shear, who specializes in social media cases, told RT. Many universities are hiring monitoring companies that comb the social media lives of applicants, even going so far as to spy on their search histories and internet activity.

“This is a very problematic situation,” Shear said. “It’s a very big problem and it’s only getting worse.”

Shear shared a story about one client of his, a 17-year-old who was asked in his college admission interview why he followed Alex Jones on Twitter. Last week, half a dozen platforms banded together to ban, block and delete the accounts of Jones and his InfoWars show.

The teen had never liked or retweeted any of Jones’s content – his “transgression” was merely following the conspiracy theorist on Twitter, Shear explained. The way he tackled the case was by going to the college and arguing the admissions interviewer displayed improper political bias.

“I made sure the situation was resolved to the student’s satisfaction,” Shear told RT.

Another client wasn’t so lucky, losing a $250,000 scholarship and admission to “one of the most prestigious universities in the world” over an emoji and like on a Facebook post related to the 2016 presidential election.

“Even though this teen’s social media accounts had the highest privacy settings, a ‘Facebook friend’ took a screenshot of the alleged inappropriate like and emoji, saved it for months, and anonymously sent it to the admissions office of the teen’s top college choice,” Shear said in a November 2017 Baltimore Sun article.

Though tech platforms have a legal cover for banning someone by invoking their terms of service, “I’m of the belief that, in general, people should be heard,” Shear told RT on Thursday. “And whether or not you like, or agree with, someone’s statements, that’s an individual determination of everyone using their platform.”

“I’m a big fan of not only personal privacy, but freedom of speech,” he added.

The major problem with social media companies is that they are “invasive” in their demands for personal data, the attorney said. Using technology, private institutions gather information about your race, religion, political viewpoints, and so on. Facebook has even reached out to banks about getting the private information of their customers, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

“They are taking this information and using it against you,” Shear said. “I don’t want Facebook to know my bank account information. It’s none of their damn business!”

Even as political campaigns seek information on potential voters to better target their online advertising, having little or no social media presence might be an asset for aspiring candidates for public office in the future, as there won’t be any “digital dirt” to dig up on them, the attorney told RT.


Students graduating with some of the most sought-after degrees will have the WORST chances of landing the right job as they lack practical skills

They should go into IT.  They should have the ability for that.  And IT workers are in high demand

Once heralded as the passports to a secure and well-paid career, science, technology and maths degrees now have some of Australia's lowest employment rates according to a university head.

The warning for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates came from Vicki Thomson - chief executive of the Group of Eight universities association.

Ms Thomson's words are backed by industry leaders who say too many graduates are ignorant of the job market or do not have practical experience.

Around 20 per cent of Australia's near two million domestic students who graduated between 2007 and 2016 were in STEM disciplines - according to the Daily Telegraph.

But maths and science graduates are finding jobs at a rate 10 per cent lower than the average post-graduation, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI),

The Go8 chief executive has also called for greater recognition of vocational education.

Group of Eight head Vicki Thomson has called for greater recognition of non-university training courses and warned STEM graduates their degree is no passport to a certain career

In an address to the Graduate Employment Outcomes and Industry Partnership Forum in Sydney, Ms Thompson said Australia would be a 'poorer nation' if it did not give the entire tertiary system the value it deserves.

She said: 'We could not live healthily, safely or successfully without plumbers, electricians, fire safety inspectors - all of which is delivered through VET.'

Ninety-two per cent of trade course graduates found a job straight away, according to a recent report.

Pearson educational consultants published an article last year calling for more government investment in STEAM, with the added 'A' referring to Art. 

Meanwhile, Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said even highly qualified candidates from STEM degrees were struggling to get hired. He said: 'No qualification by itself these days is a passport to a job.'


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