Does the president of the United States need a college degree? As Wisconsin governor Scott Walker weighs a run for the White House, some people seem to think so. Walker left Marquette University during his senior year with only one semester remaining. He took a job with the American Red Cross, slowing paving his way toward a run for public office. But not everyone is confident with his experience. This week, Howard Dean, the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee accused the governor of being "unknowledgeable."
During an interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe, Dean said:
Scott Walker didn't finish college for who knows what reason ... I think having an education about what goes on in the rest of the world is pretty important if you're going to be president of the United States.
I think most Americans want a president who knows what is happening in the world. But a college degree isn't necessarily indicative of that. And life experience can be just as valuable. After all, Walker is a governor. He's already made it high in the ranks, and did, after all, attend college for three and a half semesters. A diploma would be nothing more than an unnecessary formality to legitimize a possible campaign to critics.
It's not as though the governor doesn't value a formal college education, regarding his interest in going back to school, Walker said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
I kept thinking I'd go back, got married, had one kid, had another kid, next thing you know ... you're worrying more about paying for your kids' college education than you are for your own.
America has had 44 presidents and 11 did not obtain a college degree. The ranks include: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Harry Truman. H.W. Brands, a presidential historian at the University of Texas, said to The Washington Post:
Nowadays a college degree has become the entry credential to nearly all jobs requiring any skill at all. A candidate lacking one would have some heavy explaining to do.
But should this really be the convention? Should a Walker presidential campaign be discredited by his choice to leave school? No. He has a wealth of professional and life experience. Steve Jobs didn't need a college degree to found Apple, nor did Bill Gates for Microsoft. But neither of those men ran for president, or had their fate decided by the American electorate (40 percent have a college diploma). University degrees have created a sort of class system in America — the divide between the formally educated and the not.
An education is not just a piece of paper, but it is learned through leadership, strife, and personal experience, which certainly is the education of Scott Walker.
Image: Getty Images (1)