Education Opinion

Slow News Day

By skoolboy — December 22, 2008 1 min read
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skoolboy still has nothing substantive to say about Arne Duncan. But he’s pleased to note that Duncan’s a member of the tribe: his B.A. from Harvard is in sociology. Duncan took a year off from school to write a senior thesis on life in Kenwood, the south side Chicago neighborhood in which his mother Sue had founded an after-school program in 1961. Duncan’s 123-page thesis, entitled “The values, aspirations and opportunities of the urban underclass,” was read and praised by William Julius Wilson, among the most eminent urban sociologists of our time.

Duncan’s appointment will vault him into the list of prominent Americans who majored in sociology. It’s not a long list! Ronald Reagan double-majored in economics and sociology, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a sociology major. So too Rev. Jesse Jackson, novelist Saul Bellow, and a number of other prominent civil rights leaders and members of Congress. And Michelle Obama majored in sociology at Princeton.

But before too long, we’re into B-list celebrities and leaders: Dr. Ruth, Regis Philbin, a smattering of NFL and NBA stars, Robin Williams, and a couple of Canadians: Dan Aykroyd and Late Show bandleader Paul Shaffer.

Oh well. At least there aren’t any well-known crooked sociologists. Rod Blagojevich was a history major at Northwestern, and as for Bernie Madoff? Beats me. Nobody goes into sociology for the money.

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