john mccain

john mccain

Cindy McCain’s College Record

Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, may fool you. With her cheerleader blonde good looks — and, indeed, she was a college cheerleader — the first impression that many people have of this child of wealthy parents is that she’s a bit of a trophy wife to her significantly older husband.

But don’t let appearances fool you.  She’s no spoiled snob.  Did you know that Cindy McCain was a special ed teacher?

Cindy McCain — whose maiden name was Cindy Lou Hensley — graduated from Central High School in Phoenix, Arizona in 1972, where she earned the title of Rodeo Queen and was voted Best Dressed.  She then went on to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (which, according to unconfirmed rumors throughout the blogosphere, John McCain has referred to as the “university of spoiled children.”)  McCain earned a BA in education in 1976, and then earned an MA in special education in 1978.   Although McCain came from a privileged background, she declined a role in her family beer distribution business, and instead went on to become a special ed teacher who worked with children with Down’s syndrome.

Pretty impressive, especially compared to her husband, who graduated 894 out of 899 in his Naval Academy class.

Read more about the college records of Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney.

No Child Left Behind: The 2008 Presidential Candidates’ Positions

So what is No Child Left Behind?  And what are the 2008 presidential candidates’ positions on this controversial legislation?  Here’s a little NCLB 101, and what Obama and McCain plan to do about this legislation.

What is No Child Left Behind?

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was a federal law passed under the Bush Administration to increase public school accountability.  It also increased the focus on reading in the public schools, and gave parents more choices as to where to send their children to school.  NCLB is part of what’s known as “standards-based education reform,” which involves reforming schools primarily through improving kid’s test scores.  Schools that fail to meet the NCLB standards are held accountable and are penalized in various ways–including offering parents the option to transfer their kids out of schools who fail to meet the standards two year in a row. Read the rest of this entry »

Barack Obama Burger vs. John McCain Burger Recipes

Does the diet of the future president play any role in who receives your vote? If it does, Obama might stand out as the healthier candidate. His diet is rich in vegetables and nuts, he prefers water over soda, and he avoids mayo and potato chips. McCain likes his food greasy- enchiladas, pizza and BBQ, even suggesting he doesn’t eat too many veggies.

So it’s interesting that two recipes created in each candidate’s name don’t really reflect their dietary habits at all.

Barack Obama’s Pizza Burger is more likely to be eaten by John McCain; and the John McCain Chicken Queso Burger is probably more likely to be enjoyed by Barack.

Which of these sandwiches will get your vote?

John McCain’s GPA and College Records

There’s no doubt that John McCain’s military record is exemplary.  The same cannot be said for his academic record.  McCain won’t release his Naval Academy GPA or his transcripts, but he did admit to graduating fifth from the bottom of his class!  That’s 894 out of 899.  Here’s what he had to say:

Good for McCain for being honest about his record, but wow, that’s pretty low.

Read more about John McCain’s university background, and check out the college records of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.

Common Misspellings: John Mcain, John McCane, John Macain, John McKane, Jon McCain

College Records of the 2008 Presidential Candidates

So how did Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin fare in college?  What were their GPAs?  What courses did they take and excel in, and what gave them problems?

I investigated this question today, and sadly, it was difficult to find solid answers.  After all, GPAs and other information about college performance is confidential information.  When I was a professor, I couldn’t even tell parents how their kids were doing in classes, much to their frustration.  That’s the law.

Nonetheless, when an individual applies to grad school, or when they apply to a competitive job where intelligence matters quite a bit, they are asked to submit their GPA and their college transcripts.  And that’s why it irks me that information about the candidates’ college records are not readily available.   After all, the American people are about to hire two of these candidates to crucially important positions.  Shouldn’t we have this information about their accomplishments — or lack thereof– in higher education?  No, GPA isn’t a direct indicator of intelligence and future success, but it certainly is one indicator.

At any rate, here’s the information that’s out there about the college records of Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.

Obama Wants to Help College Students; McCain Says Students on Their Own

The two candidates couldn’t differ more on any hot-button issue you toss in front of them. Their positions on supporting American college students is also quite the contrast, as are their individual college experiences. Obama attended Columbia and Harvard, and only recently paid off his student loan debt; McCain attended the U.S. Naval Academy, which was free.

Amongst a crashing economy where college tuition support is harder to come by, and college tuition is skyrocketing faster than inflation, one candidate is in favor of the government lending support to college students, while the other thinks that you should cram in a night job between an 18-hour class schedule- plus labs and study groups. While they agree that college tuition isn’t affordable to most Americans and that the process to attain that aid is convuluted- the similarities part there.

McCain’s message when it comes to increased tuition is, ‘You’re on your own,’” says Michael Dannenberg, senior fellow with the New America Foundation and not a member of Obama’s campaign. “Obama’s message to families is, ‘We’ll give you more financial aid to help you with college costs, but your kids are going to have to help others.'”

Obama’s plan is more detailed than McCains, albeit with a larger price tag. His position is that it’s the government’s job to support college students persuing a degree. He’s not giving it away- in exchange for 100 hours of community service each year, the government will offer students a $4,000 tax break. McCain has put focus on making the financial aid system more efficient, but does not intend to increase its breadth. He wants parents to be more informed and says more money can be available if we eliminate wasteful spending. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Reasons Why College Students Need to Vote

College students:  get off your duffs and vote!  In case you need a good reason to do so, here are five:

1) Politicians will pay more attention to college students and their issues if they vote

So why don’t politicians pay more attention to the issues that you care about, like the price of tuition, financial aid, and the availability of entry level jobs? Because traditionally, college students have had relatively low voter turnout.  Instead, the candidates pay lots of attention to issues of importance to the elderly, like Social Security, because the elderly vote!

Fortunately, voter turnout among college students is increasing, and the candidates (especially Obama) are paying closer attention to student needs.  This trend will only continue if students demonstrate that they have excellent voter turnout, and therefore are a group to be taken seriously by politicians.

2) College affordability is a serious concern

As you are well aware, the average cost of a college education has become out of reach for many students and their families, and the price of college has dramatically outpaced inflation — which means that college has become significantly less affordable than it was when your parents went to school.  This directly affects your life and your future, and politicians need to know that this matters!  Research the candidates’ positions on tuition reform and keep this closely in mind when you vote.

3) Financial aid is a serious concern

Politicians can make a major difference when it comes to how much financial aid you receive.  The Bush administration has been slow to make changes to increase the Pell Grant and to make it easier to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.  And now that the country’s in the middle of a credit crunch, student loans may well become harder to get, so it’s imperative that you research the candidates’ positions on financial aid and vote accordingly.

4) This election is crucially important for all young people

So guess who inherits the financial mess created by the mortgage crisis, and the implications of global warming, and the aftermath of the current policies and conflicts in the Middle East?

5) You don’t want them to think you’re apathetic and lazy, do you?

Students have a reputation for being lazy and unconcerned about what’s going on in the world.  Some of this is because older people always like to whine about “those young people today,” so to some degree, this stereotype won’t entirely go away.  But if this is a stereotype you don’t want people to have about college kids, do something about it.

Register to vote today.

McCain Takes Issue with ROTC Ban at Columbia University

UPDATE [1/27/11]: After commenting on the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” President Obama addressed the issue of the ROTC on college campuses in the State of the Union speech on January 25th. “With that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiter and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.”

While speaking at Columbia University on September 11, Republican presidential candidate John McCain criticized the school’s ban on the ROTC program — a program (which stands for Reserve Officer’s Training Corp), which trains college students to be military officers while they are still in school.  Although McCain offered lots of accolades to Columbia — where, in fact, one of his daughters attended — he argued that the ROTC ban excluded students from an opportunity that many would find rewarding.


So why does Columbia — along with a number of other schools across the U.S. — ban the ROTC program, which is a staple on many college and university campuses across America?  Columbia’s ban is in protest of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” regarding homosexuality.  Established under the Clinton administration, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy basically says that it’s OK for gays to be in the military, as long as they don’t openly identify themselves as gay.  In turn, officers are not supposed to inquire about anyone’s homosexuality, therefore allowing gays the opportunity to serve in the military as long as they remain silent. Open homosexuals are barred from serving in the military, so if they identify themselves as gay, they get thrown out.

Columbia University, along with many gay rights supporters, feel this policy is blatantly discriminatory and inhumane to people who are willing to put their lives on the line for America, so they’ve banned the ROTC from campus in protest.

Is Columbia right to do so, even though this prevents students on its campus from choosing the ROTC option?  What do you think?

John McCain’s University Background

John McCain is the Republican nominee for President. His educational background isn’t quite as “mainstream” as his peers- attending private high school and college. Do you share an alma mater with McCain?

john mccain

High School:
Episcopal High School
Alexandria, VA
Graduated in 1954

U.S. Naval Academy
Annapolis, MD
Graduated in 1958

Students for Obama, Students for McCain

Historically, presidential candidates haven’t paid much attention to college students, or to younger people in general.  Why?  It’s kind of a vicious cycle between low voter turnout among young people and little attention paid to young people by politicians.  Students don’t vote because politicians ignore them, and politicians ignore them because students don’t vote.

obama mccain

In terms of the candidates’ eagerness to court the votes of young people, this election is unlike any other I’ve ever seen.  Perhaps it’s because the election is so close, so every vote really counts.  Perhaps it’s because Barack Obama appeals strongly to young voters, which has the McCain campaign running to rally the conservative kids on college campuses. Or perhaps it’s just because the turbulent events of the past decade — 9/11, the War in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the economic crisis, global warming — have made this generation of students more politically aware and interested than young people during the last three or four elections.  There’s a lot at stake in this election, and everyone knows it, including students.

The Obama campaign has been especially aggressive at trying to reach students.  If you’re interested, check out the Students for Obama page, which is a big part of the official Obama election website.  This organization actually started in 2006 as a Facebook page created to persuade Obama to run for president.

John McCain does not have a centralized place on his web page for student supporters, but you can visit individual McCain student groups on the web, like California Students for McCain.  Another good place to find out about McCain is this unofficial Students for McCain page of MySpace.

Learn more about each candidate’s position on financial aid for students.


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