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A Supreme Need for Educational Diversity
Townhall.com ^ | April 25, 2014 | Scott Rasmussen

Posted on 04/25/2014 5:40:58 AM PDT by Kaslin

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ended legal segregation in public schools with a unanimous 9-0 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. While the ruling paved the way for future integration of American society, the court itself was far from integrated. The decision was reached by nine white men.

It wasn't until Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967 that the all-white barrier was broken. It took until 1981 before a woman was confirmed as a justice. Since then, Italian-American and Hispanic-American justices have been added to the mix. A more diverse court is a good thing for America.

Unfortunately, while the Court has become more diverse in some ways over that past half century, there has been a disturbing reduction in educational diversity. In 1954, the Court that overturned government-sponsored segregation in public schools boasted members with law degrees from the Universities of Indiana, California, Texas and Alabama, along with Columbia, Harvard and Sorbonne. One of the Justices had no law degree whatsoever.

Today, such diversity is nowhere to be found. All nine justices attended either Harvard or Yale for law school. It's nearly as bad at the undergraduate level. In 1954, there were justices who did their initial college work at schools like Whitman College, Bowdoin College or City College of New York. No more.

While it is certainly possible to get a good legal education at Harvard or Yale, it is problematic when all the supremes have been trained in one narrow school of thought. The nation would be much better served by a collection of justices who came from different schools in different parts of the country. To take just one example, someone attending law school in the West might bring an invaluable and unique perspective into coming court battles concerning the federal government's control over western lands.

The problem extends beyond the Supreme Court. Since 1988, every president has had a degree from Harvard or Yale. Some people might be puzzled as to why I consider this a problem. Why wouldn't we want the best and brightest to lead us? At Harvard a few years back, a faculty member asked me that very question.

Partly, the answer is that there are many ways of learning. People who graduate from the elite universities may be the best and brightest of the book learners, but many learn in other ways. For example, successful entrepreneurs are often lousy students. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of college to found Microsoft and Apple.

Limiting the top tiers of political power to those who attend just a couple of schools deprives the nation of the diverse leadership it needs in these challenging times. We need doers and pragmatic problem solvers as well as book learners. We need leaders who understand the American people as much as we need those who can navigate the challenges of an Ivy League school.

We can never find the leaders we need if we limit our search to only the "right" people. It hurt the United States for generations to exclude women and minorities from leadership. It is hurting us today to exclude those who didn't attend the "right" schools.

Diversity of education at the highest ranks of government is absolutely essential if we want government of, by and for the people to survive.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: affirmativeaction; supremecourt

1 posted on 04/25/2014 5:40:58 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Diversity = amount of pigment in skin and proper liberal viewpoint.

That is all you need to know.


2 posted on 04/25/2014 5:42:41 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: 2banana
Diversity = amount of pigment in skin and proper liberal viewpoint.

I guess diversity of thought isn't germane.

3 posted on 04/25/2014 6:12:44 AM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: 2banana

The author indirectly attacks the political aristocracy by attacking the notion that Harvard and Yale yield our ‘best and brightest’ not to mention self perpetuating autocrats.

The author calls out for a more diversified government and that we should steer away from our increasingly single-minded standards of our notion of the ‘best and brightest’.

I can’t find anything to disagree with.


4 posted on 04/25/2014 6:12:45 AM PDT by Usagi_yo
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To: Kaslin

Gates and Jobs weren’t lousy students.


5 posted on 04/25/2014 6:14:51 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: 9YearLurker

They, as well as Michael Dell, were simply bored students. Much of what is labeled “education” in universities is junk….junk science, junk liberal politics, junk literature, and most important, junk degrees.


6 posted on 04/25/2014 6:25:14 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: Kaslin

4 are from New York
2 are from New Jersey
2 are from California
1 is from Georgia.

There’s definitely disdain for fly-over country showing there.


7 posted on 04/25/2014 7:15:07 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Kaslin

He’s absolutely right about the need for educational diversity. The Harvard/Yale educations are unquestionably academically excellent. But without those degrees, among the elite, you just aren’t considered, well, educated. It’s intellectual segregation.


8 posted on 04/25/2014 7:20:56 AM PDT by EDINVA
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To: Kaslin

Maybe someone should clue Scott into the fact that Italian-Americans are now generally regarded as white, even if that didn’t used to be universally true.


9 posted on 04/25/2014 8:44:55 AM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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