Here in America, it isn’t only the young people who attend Harvard who do well—those who go to Yale and Stanford do pretty good, too.
Me, I went to public school. That’s why I write in this Brooklyn accent. I am a proud graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase, though admittedly many of those years are only hazy memories. I also learned a great deal by taking inexpensive courses at San Francisco State University and free courses at the School of Hard Knocks, located in Omaha, Nebraska. On the other hand, I should also say that I have an M.Div. (Master of Divination; FYI, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States) and I work around lots of people who went to so-called elite schools—the Ivy League schools in the Northeast, USC in Southern California, or the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires in Ormond Beach, Florida. In other words, some of my best friends are products of the so-called elite schools of America.
That said, I am more than a little weary of the weight we put upon someone having gone to one of the so-called elite universities. I know people on both sides of the divide, and in my experience whether someone has attended one of these schools, or some other school, or never went to college at all does not predict character, ability, accomplishment, creativity, how much they contribute to society, charm, generosity, wisdom, or any number of other aspects that make up a life.
My daughter Laura wants to go to one of these so-called elite schools, and of course I hope she achieves her goal. She wants to be a doctor, and she would be a good one. I am proud that America has so many fine colleges and universities. But Haverford, where my brothers Dave and Phil went, may be just as good a place to learn as Harvard (which is clearly mimicking the Pennsylvania school’s name) or the University of Nebraska, my mom's alma mater. My son Daniel has yet to go to college, but he has learned more by not going to college than he ever would have had he gone straight out of high school. Now just twenty-years-old, he has already been in forty countries and knows seven languages, and is doing a lot for his country as a covert operator for the CIA. Ha ha, just kidding about that part. I think.
So let’s stop treating people who went to these so-called elite schools and people with lots of extra degrees and the “A” student types like Brahmins. It is, frankly, un-American. I have in my hand a list—oops, wrong speech.
This is, as Jay and the Americans often remind us, the land of opportunity—for everybody, not just people in lime green pants.