Today, in 2015, approximately 31 percent of adults over 25 have at least a four year college degree as part of their credentials. This is an all time high.
In American history, all but eleven Presidents have had at least a four year college degree, much of the time when only a sliver of Americans had such a degree.
A college education does NOT guarantee success; does NOT guarantee excellence in one’s occupational pursuits; does NOT make any person automatically “better” than those without a college education!
What does a college education do that is beneficial?
It promotes the growth of critical thinking skills; it promotes empathy and compassion for those less fortunate; it promotes ability to analyze and evaluate materials; it promotes intellectual inquiry and curiosity, which is a good thing; it promotes ability to interpret events and happenings with a background of knowledge; it promotes tolerance and open mindedness!
Should not one, therefore, expect that a President of the United States have, at the least, a four year degree that has promoted these values?
Yes, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln did not have a college education, but that was 225 and 150 years ago, in a much less complex world than we have now!
Yes, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Harry Truman did not have a college education, but they all were highly motivated to learn, to read books, to have intellectual curiosity.
Would not Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, all military figures, have gained a more tolerant attitude if they had had more education, and maybe not killed as many Native Americans?
Would not Andrew Johnson have learned to work better with people and been more tolerant toward African Americans if he had had some more education?
Would not Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore have gained, also, by some more education? Ironically, despite lack of education, Fillmore founded the State University of NY Buffalo institution, which at least demonstrated his understanding of the value of higher education!
So with this background on Presidents and education, should it matter that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, in his senior year, and never finished his college degree, all for a job opportunity?
The answer is YES, as just because one takes on a job, does not mean one cannot finish a college degree, as many millions of others have done!
It is an issue of steadfastness, of dedication, of the old adage: “Finish what you start!” The extra effort required to finish is always worth it, as finishing a degree is a major accomplishment! If a politician wishes to be President, therefore, it should be expected that he shows persistence and commitment to follow through on any commitment he makes in life! He is not just one of us, where two thirds have not gone to or finished college. He is supposed to be the “best among us”, a figure we can look up to, and our children can see as a model!
Under those parameters, Scott Walker should not become President, without even mentioning his innumerable shortcomings, otherwise! He has failed a basic test of Presidential leadership!