Comparing Obama and Romney’s Schooling Years

2 Nov

Education plays a big role in my life. I grew up in Arkansas, my family bobbing above and below the poverty line throughout my childhood — from a very early age, I knew that education was going to be the determining factor of my success in life.

I studied hard, took Advanced Placement courses in high school, attended America’s “dream school,” and am now in the process of applying for graduate school.

Education has made all the difference in my life. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college, and at 26 years old, I’ve accomplished a lot more with the cards the world dealt me than would have seemed possible.

Though education has been a central pillar in my life, I had never thought to take a look at the educational backgrounds of the world’s top leaders and compare them to my own schooling. Until now, I found it presumable that most of America’s presidents probably attended elite colleges and graduate programs, but I hadn’t thought about the full picture, beyond secondary school.

That all changed this week, though, when I came across the below infographic that takes a look at the educational backgrounds of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. While I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that both candidates attended elite elementary schools, I couldn’t help but to be taken back a bit.

Yes, education is important. But when does the choice of attending a particular school over others start to become pivotal in a person’s success trajectory? Pre-school? Kindergarten? Middle school? High school? College? Or is a person’s success determined by many other factors beyond their schooling, such as his or her will to succeed and break molds?

I’m sure this question and others that I’ve been pondering as a result of this infographic are ripe for debate, and there’s no doubt that America’s education system still has a long way to go before every student is served well from the day they enter school until the day they graduate.

I’m not really going to get into all of those discussions, though. I merely wanted to share this infographic with you, which looks at the entirety of Obama and Romney’s schooling. Very interesting read. If you have any thoughts to add, please do comment below!

Enjoy, and feel free to enlarge the infographic by clicking here or on the image.

Image courtesy of Cain and Todd Benson and infographic courtesy of Degree Jungle

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3 Responses to “Comparing Obama and Romney’s Schooling Years”

  1. Ron Zeligzon November 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    A very interesting infographic. I think we can agree that a major part of the public school system’s failure is due to the monopolistic control of bureaucratic institutions over our children’s schooling. Ultimately this gives little to no choice for the parent or the student. Pumping more money into the system is definitely not the solution. It’s interesting to see according to the infographic average private school tuition is only $9,200 and according to CNN “The average Public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per student in the 2010 fiscal year, an increase of 1.1% from the previous year” with one of the lousiest schools in the country, Washington, D.C. spending $18,667 per pupil.
    http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/21/which-places-spent-most-per-student-on-education/

    So what’s the solution because clearly it’s not a money issue?

    • ericaswallow November 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      Ron! Great to see your name pop up! (By the way: Guess what, I don’t think I’m depressed right now, and it’s winter! It was a close call, though.) :P

      So, question: Have you seen “Waiting For Superman”? Though I don’t think charter schools are the answer, more engaging curriculums that focus on tangible skills and keep students interested in education are.

      Did you read this piece I wrote? http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericaswallow/2012/09/05/american-education-system-nikhil-goyal/

      Nikhil Goyal, the author of the book discussed in the post, has some great ideas on how we can fix America’s education system. I don’t want to sound like a pushover, but I kind of agree with him 100% on everything. :)

      • Ron Zeligzon November 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

        Awesome article. I love seeing people like Nikhil take on the lousy establishment with radical new ideas. I’d love to see Nikhil create a school based off of his ideas and stack it against other schools. I’ve seen waiting for superman and I’m familiar charter schools, but these seem to be luck of the draw based lottery systems as opposed to government giving every student a voucher to attend the school they desire. Let schools compete. There doesn’t seem to be much competition within the charter schools.
        When you get the chance have a look at these two clips: One is around 9 minutes the other is about an hour long. Both are old but very much applicable and important…Glad to see you are doing well :-).

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