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September 2, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

History of teachers in White House

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Seven of the 44 U.S. presidents were teachers. It’s interesting, although unscientific, to look at these presidents and their terms.

They are, in presidential order, Franklin Pierce (14), James Garfield (20), Chester Arthur (21), William McKinley (25), Woodrow Wilson (28), Lyndon Johnson (36) and Barack Obama (44).

All, except Wilson and not counting Obama, served one term or less. Garfield and McKinley, both Republicans, were assassinated.

Arthur became president after Garfield’s death but didn’t run for a full term due to his health.

James Blaine, the Republican Party presidential nominee, lost to Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, in November 1884.

Wilson, a Democrat, supposedly one of the better 44, was anti-civil rights and women’s suffrage, casting suspicion on him as a “progressive.”

Wilson’s physical disabilities resulted in his wife serving as de facto president for most of the second term. She doesn’t share in his legacy but surely was the reason for passage of the 25th Amendment.

Johnson, a Democrat and noted Texas legislator, was sworn in as president after John Kennedy, a Democrat, was assassinated.

Johnson won election the following year but decided not to run for another term, some opine, because he would have lost.

That left the path open for Richard Nixon, a Republican, to win the election in 1968.

Based on the history for teachers as presidents, draw your own conclusions for President Obama’s success for a second term and/or a presidential legacy of note.

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  1. There is a saying that has a grain of truth to it: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." (It is tempting to add that those who can but prefer to have others do it go into politics.)

  2. Seven out of 44. Geez that is really telling.

    Carmine you are grasping at straws. Try another one.

  3. I'm not surprised this writer would use a superficial examination of the records of mostly nineteenth century presidents to form his voting decisions today.

  4. "Edmund Burke (1729-1797) statement, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." Burke was a British Statesman and Philosopher who is generally viewed as the philosophical founder of modern political conservatism."

    CarmineD

  5. "There is an appointed time for everything,
    and a time for every thing under the heavens.
    A time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
    A time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to tear down, and a time to build.
    A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
    A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
    a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
    A time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
    A time to rend, and a time to sew;
    a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
    A time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time of war, and a time of peace.

    What advantage has the worker from his toil?
    I have considered the task that God has appointed
    for the sons of men to be busied about.
    He has made everything appropriate to its time,
    and has put the timeless into their hearts,
    without man's ever discovering,
    from beginning to end, the work which God has done."

    CarmineD

  6. 7 is the universe of teachers to president with two notable exemptions: John Adams (2) and William Clinton (42). I excluded both for cause. Adams home schooled his sons only. Clinton did lecturing for pay as opposed to teach. Using the bell curve approach for statistical surveying and analysis, I excluded the two. Also for fairness and balance.

    CarmineD

  7. Carmine: Edmund Burke was really conservative, which is not to be confused with modern Conservative. Today most modern Conservatives would revile Edmund Burke as a "liberal". Same word, but a VASTLY DIFFERENT MEANING.

  8. What's next? An comparison of left-handed Presidents born west of the Mississippi? This is a worthless comparison and is a waste of ink.

    Chapline had it 100% correct.

  9. "What's next? An comparison of left-handed Presidents born west of the Mississippi?"

    8 of the 44 were left handed/ambidextrous, although one is disputed. 4 born west of the Mississippi River, 4 born east. I'm an aficionado of presidential trivia.

    CarmineD

  10. "Carmine: Edmund Burke was really conservative, which is not to be confused with modern Conservative. Today most modern Conservatives would revile Edmund Burke as a "liberal". Same word, but a VASTLY DIFFERENT MEANING."

    Mr. Goodman: Thank you for the clarification. Edmund is also attributed with saying: "Evil exists when good men do nothing." Actually he said something similar but not quite the same.

    CarmineD

  11. The letter writer indicates that 7 presidents were teachers.He failed to mention that 25 were lawyers,some were military men,others business men,etc.

    To try to imply that the 7 teachers who were presidents,are more inclined for failure or to die in office. Is a very distasteful statement.President Obama was a teacher and also a lawyer before becoming president.Which category should we put him in?

  12. "To try to imply that the 7 teachers who were presidents,are more inclined for failure or to die in office. Is a very distasteful statement.President Obama was a teacher and also a lawyer before becoming president.Which category should we put him in?"

    Mr. Pizzo: Obama taught law. What category do you think?

    CarmineD

  13. "All the rhetorical propaganda in the world will not change the outcome of this presidential election. Mr. Obama will be back, and will complete his second term as President of the United States!!!"

    Mr. Chapline:

    Politics is like the NBA: People don't pay attention until the playoffs. And the playoffs begin next week: Debates.

    CarmineD

  14. Carmine,"Mr.Pizzo:Obama taught law.What category do you think"?

    Pres.Obama was a teacher of law,and also a lawyer.I asked you what category do you think he should be in.Your response was not a answer only a question to my question,try again.

  15. Here's a stat, Carmine: There were two presidents who were "businessmen..."

    1. Herbert Hoover - We know how THAT turned out.
    2 George W Bush - Again, we know how THAT turned out.

    The two greatest periods of economic despair began with "businessmen" at the helm...

  16. "What? The last time I looked LBJ served two terms as president"

    Wrong. As I posted, he served out the remainder of JFK's term. Wasn't elected. He was elected and served one full term. Hence, the reason he was eligible to run for another [second term] but decided not to.

    CarmineD

  17. "President Obama is a great teacher and a great
    president."

    Mr. Teamster:

    At least President Obama will have a vocation he can fall back on when he loses. A teacher.

    CarmineD

  18. "1. Herbert Hoover - We know how THAT turned out.
    2 George W Bush - Again, we know how THAT turned out."

    A better one. Both were left handed although one is disputed to be so. One born west of Mississippi and the other east.

    Harry S. Truman was also a business man, albeit small business owner and operator of a haberdashery store. It went belly up. Note in his photos, he is an impeccable dresser. His partners were friends and former army buddies. He paid them and all his creditors their debts after the business folded. How would you rate him as president?

    CarmineD

  19. "Your response was not a answer only a question to my question,try again."

    Mr. Pizzo: No you. Your first guess is wrong.

    CarmineD

  20. By today's standards and ratings, and these vary, popular and good/great presidents are those who were elected to 2 full terms and the person to whom they pass the presidential baton wins. Think Ronald R. Reagan.

    Since there were so many insightful albeit invective comments, who knows what's next? Maybe VP's who were teachers?

    CarmineD

  21. Thanks to boftx for the telling quote about teachers and here's its origin and meaning:

    "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.
    People who are able to do something well can do that thing for a living, while people who are not able to do anything that well make a living by teaching. (Used to disparage teachers. From George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman.) Bob: I'm so discouraged. My writing teacher told me my novel is hopeless. Jane: Don't listen to her, Bob. Remember: those who can, do; those who can't, teach."

    CarmineD

  22. A PS to the thread:

    President Obama came out in huge support for an end to the NFL referree strike citing the miscalls as proof. Yet, he was silent on the NTU strike in his home state and city. The city where his children would have gone to school and the state where he was elected and served as a Junior senator. And a teacher to boot. His silence spoke volumes. Where he stands depends on where he sits. And the mainstream media tags Governor Mitt Romney with the flip flop label.

    CarmineD

  23. "Carmine, Carmine,Carmine; don't you ever get tired of losing?"

    BChap:

    It's not how many times you get knocked down. It's how many times you get back up!

    Semper Fi, do or die.

    CarmineD

  24. Carmine,"No you.Your first guess was wrong".

    It wasn't a guess. Pres.Obama was A lawyer first,than a teacher.

  25. Mr. Pizzo:

    Most if not all of our chief executives had more than one career in their lifetimes. Most of the careers are not mutually exclusive like lawyer and a teacher of law. These are mutually inclusive IMO.

    Read/reread the quote from Geroge Bernard Shaw on teachers. It's easy to critique someone else's work. It's more difficult to come up with your own. Why not do an analyses of presidents who were lawyers and submit to the Sun for publishing?

    CarmineD

  26. "Boy Carmine you write a short letter and you get the Dems all fired up this early in the morning. Classic."

    Hello Chuck:

    It's a good thing I annotated my letter with the preface that it was "not scientific" and ended with "draw your own conclusions."

    CarmineD

  27. Carmine,"Mr.Pizzo most of our chief executives have had more than one career in their lifetimes".

    What has all this to do with my orignal Question.Which was what category do you think we should we put Pres.Obama in, lawyer or teacher? It's just a simple question,and should have a simple answer,no more dancing around it with other subjects.

  28. It's a moot question, Mr. Pizzo. Why? My answer should be self-evident to you. I included President Obama in my universe of teachers who became president. Why? Because he taught law. I did not include the subjects that the other teachers-to-president taught, some of whom were lawyers like Obama too. Consistency Mr. Pizzo. My analysis, my rules. If you don't like my analysis and rules, rather than criticize it, do your own and submit for publishing in the Sun.

    CarmineD

  29. "Senator Obama is a Constitutional Lawyer, these lawyers do not work for law firms but for government entities as the Constitution is competent only to government."

    Note the excerpt Mr. Pizzo. Another reason I included President Obama as a teacher.

    CarmineD

  30. Carmine,"Rather than criticize it".

    Asking a question is not ctiticism,it's how you avoid answering a person's questions until cornered.

  31. Here's another excerpt Mr. Pizzo:

    "He [Obama} never practiced law per say, He did some research for
    a Chicago firm. Taught at Chicago U. But he never passed
    the certification board for trial attorneys, to do either civil
    or criminal trial work. Not one day. As far as anyone can
    ever recall. He never stood in a court room to defend a
    client of any kind, at anyitme, anywhere. "

    Yet another reason I included him as a teacher of law, not a lawyer.

    CarmineD

  32. Lest you forget what you said:

    "To try to imply that the 7 teachers who were presidents,are more inclined for failure or to die in office. Is a very distasteful statement.President Obama was a teacher and also a lawyer before becoming president.Which category should we put him in?"

    CarmineD

  33. Carmine,"lest you forget what you said"

    It only took you almost 2 days to finally give me a answer.

  34. Referring to President obama as a teacher, implying that he is a teacher in the same vein as our public school teachers is a stretch at best. I would say the same about any person in the same circumstances. According to published reports he was a guest lecturer, not a professor, not a full time instructor, not even an adjunct professor.

    I say this without malice or political agenda. Why? I ask these questions - Has the President:

    Completed any course of instruction on instructional technique?

    Developed or prepared any formal curriculum subject to standards and approval?

    Completed any other courses on classroom instruction, use of visual aids, curriculum development, proper test construction, mediation techniques, child psychology, behavioral science, etc?

    Standing behind a lectern and lecturing for a measured period of time is not teaching. Our teachers are required to pass courses of instruction and demonstrate both knowledge and ability. The fact that someone has a JD and has practiced law in some capacity is far from what is required to be a 'teacher'.

    I have had many so called teachers, instructors and professors who bypassed the training and the demonstrated ability to be successful in the classroom while pursuing undergraduate and graduate programs. Two were accountants, both with a Masters in Accounting and whom both had failed the CPA exam repeatedly and held positions as adjunct professors at the undergraduate level to supplement their failing private practices. Both of these folks were nice people, both were greatly lacking in the skills needed to lead a class.

    While I may on occasion be critical of union politics, I can only support and defend the difficult occupation where real teachers are judged by every student in every class, every day as well as their peers, parents and others. Without evidence to the contrary, I can only say that President Obama may have been a good lawyer but that neither provides the skills to be a good teacher nor the thousands of hours of hard work on both sides of the podium it takes to be one.

  35. It appears that the definition of teacher is being debated here, to qualify whether or not a US President has actually been one. If we consider the traditional version of what qualifies a person to be a teacher, well, in the past half century or so, a teaching candidate would complete a university degree with a field of concentration and upon earning that degree, would then continue on to graduate school, for further education and physical training as an intern. Even when those requirements are satisfied, the candidate must pass proficiency exams and obtain their license for the state they intend to teach in.

    Now, in more recent years, there has been "fast-tracking" and "alternate routes to licensure" employed by some state and local agencies, by-passing the longer and more thorough traditional training.

    The analogy I would make in comparision to teachers is as follows: which pie would you rather have---one baked in the microwave oven in less time, or one baked the old fashion way, taking longer and cooked in the oven?

    As far as the letter writer's observation on Presidents who were teachers, it seems difficult to make any sort of judgement without including the events surrounding that President at that time in order to make any comparisions and have any meaningful conversation about it.

    Got to admit that I have enjoyed reading quotes from Burke and that Time and Season sonnet. Very uplifting.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  36. "Carmine,"lest you forget what you said"

    It only took you almost 2 days to finally give me a answer."

    No, Mr. Pizzo. Took you 2 days to get it: "Those who can do, those who can't teach." Boftx told you in the first post here. President Obama who never practiced law, taught it. Why do you think that is Mr. Pizzo?

    CarmineD

  37. "Why do you think that is Mr. Pizzo?"

    Rhetorical question, Mr. Pizzo. No answer necessary.

    CarmineD

  38. Carmine,"why do you think that Is".

    That's easy to answer.By you changing the subject and going in a different direction.You try and take everyone's mind off of what you really said.

    To imply that Pres.Obama is in the same category as other presidents and will be doomed to failure or die in office is itself insane.

    This is why you change the subject,and flood the comment section with 23 out of 56 total posts by all other commenters.No response is necessary.

  39. "This is why you change the subject,and flood the comment section with 23 out of 56 total posts by all other commenters."

    Only 50 percent response rate? I'm mellowing in my old age.

    CarmineD