Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From C.Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 10

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"Within and between the upper-class families as well as their firms and offices, there are the schoolboy friendships and the prep schools and the college clubs, and later the key social and political clubs. And, in all these houses and organizations, there are the men who will later--or at the time of meeting--operate in the diverse higher circles of modern society.

"The exclusive schools and clubs and resorts of the upper social classes are not exclusive merely because their members are snobs. Such locales and associations have a real part in building the upper-class character, and more than that, the connections to which they naturally lead help to link one higher circle with another.

"So the distinguished law student, after prep school and Harvard, is `clerk' to a Supreme Court judge, then a corporation lawyer, then in the diplomatic service, then in the law firm again. In each of these spheres, he meets and knows men of his own kind, and, as a kind of continuum, there are the old family friends and the schoolboy chums, the dinners at the club, and each year of his life the summer resorts. In each of these circles in which he moves, he acquires and exercises a confidence in his own ability to judge, to decide, and in this confidence he is supported by his ready access to the experience and sensibility of those who are his social peers and who act with decision in each of the important institutions and areas of public life. One does not turn one's back on a man whose presence is accepted in such circles, even under most trying circumstances. All over the top of the nation, he is`in,' his appearance, a certificate of social position; his voice and manner, a badge of proper training, his associates, proof at once of their acceptance and of his stereotyped discernment."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From C.Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 9

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"...The prep schools for boys are usually within a convenient range of boarding schools for girls of similar age, and several times a year the students from each are thrown together for chaperoned occasions. There are, in addition, the sisters of the other boys and the brothers of the other girls. And for those attending the more exclusive...colleges, there are formally arranged visits and parties--in short, dating patterns--established between them. On the college level, the exclusive schools become components of a broadened marriage market, which brings into dating relation the children of the upper social classes of the nation...

"Accordingly, in the inner circles of the upper classes, the most impersonal problems of the largest and most important institutions are fused with the sentiments and worries of small, closed, intimate groups. This is one very important meaning of the upper-class family and of the upper-class school: `background' is one way in which, on the basiss of intimate association, the activities of an upper class may be tacitly co-ordinated. It is also important because in such circles, adolescent boys and girls are exposed to the table conversations of decision-makers, and thus have bred into them the informal skills and pretensions of decision-makers; in short, they imbibe what is called `judgment.' Without conscious effort, they absorb the aspiration to be--if not the conviction that they are--The Ones Who Decide..."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

From C.Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 8

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"Harvard or Yale or Princeton is not enough. It is the really exclusive prep school that counts, for that determines which of the `two Harvards' one attends. The clubs and cliques of college are usually composed of carry-overs of association and name made in the lower levels at the proper schools; one's friends at Harvard are friends made at prep school. That is why in the upper social classes, it does not by itself mean much merely to have a degree from an Ivy League college. That is assumed: the point is not Harvard, but which Harvard? By Harvard, one means Porcellian, Fly, or A.D.: by Yale, one means Zeta Psi or Fence or Delta Kappa Epsilon; by Princeton, Cottage, Tiger, Cap and Gown, or Ivy. It is the prestige of a properly certified secondary education followed by a proper club in a proper Ivy League college that is the standard admission ticket to the world of urban clubs and parties in any major city of the nation. To the prestige of the voice and manner, constructed in such schools, local loyalties bow, for that experience is a major clue to the nation-wide upper class that is homogeneous and self-conscious..."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From C.Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 7

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"These schools are not usually oriented to any obvious practical end. It is true that the...schools are invariably preparatory for college...But the middle-class ethos of competitiveness is generally lacking. One should, the school seems to say, compare one's work and activity not with the boy or girl next to you, but with what you and your teacher believe is your own best. Besides, if you are too interested, you become conspicuous.

"Certainly competition for status among students is held to a minimum...

"The elders of the school community are those older children in the higher Forms, and they become the models aspired to by the younger children...Care is taken that the self-image of the child not be slapped down, as it might by an insecure parent, and that manners at table as elsewhere be imbibed from the general atmosphere rather than from authoritarian and forbidding figures.

"Then one will always know what to do, even if one is sometimes puzzled. One will react appropriately upon meeting the man who is too carefully groomed and above all, the man who tries too hard to please, for one knows that that is not necessary if one is `the right sort of person.' There will be the manner of simplicity and the easy dignity that can arise only out of an inner certainty that one's being is a definitely established fact of one's world, from which one cannot be excluded, ignored, snubbed, or paid off. And in due course, as a young broker, banker, executive, one will feel smooth and handsome, with the easy bonhomie, the look of superior amusement, and all the useful friendships; one will have just the proper touch of deference toward the older men, even if they are members of your own club, and just the right degree of intelligence and enthusiasms--but not too much of either, for one's style is, after all, a realization of the motto of one's schooling: nothing in excess..."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From C. Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 6

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"The vitals of a prep-school are not located in the curriculum. They are located in a dozen other places, some of them queer places indeed: in the relation between boys and faculty; in who the boys are and where they come from; in a Gothic chapel or a shiny new gymnasium; in the type of building the boys live in and the sort of thing they do after supper; and, above all in the headmaster. There is a kind of implicit ideal for the school to be an organized extension of the family, but a large family in which the proper children from Boston and Philadelphia and New York together learn the proper style of conduct. This family ideal is strengthened...by the tendency for given upper-class families to send all their sons to the same schools that the father, or even grandfather, attended; and by the donations as well as the social and sentimental activities of the alumni associations. The underlying purpose of the Choate School, for example, is to prove that family and school may be effectively combined, so that a boy while gaining the benefits that school provides--in particular `spiritual leadership' and `association with boys of purpose'--will retain the intimate influences that ought to characterize a proper home.

"Daily life in the exclusive schools is usually quite simple, even Spartan; within its atmosphere of snobbish simplicity, there is a democracy of status. Everyone follows more or less the same routine, and there are no opportunities for officially approved inclinations for ostentatious display or snobbery..."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From C.Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 5

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"As a selection and training place of the upper classes, both old and new, the private school is a unifying influence, a force for the nationalization of the upper classes. The less important the pedigreed family becomes in the careful transmission of moral and cultural traits, the more important the private school. The school--rather than the upper-class family--is the most important agency for transmitting the traditions of the upper social classes, and regulating the admission of new wealth and talent. It is the characterizing point in the upper-class experience. In the top fifteen or twenty such schools, if anywhere, one finds a prime organizing center of the national upper social classes. For in these private schools for adolescents, the religious and family and educational tasks of the upper social classes are fused, and in them the major tasks of upholding such standards as prevail in these classes are centered..."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From C. Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 4

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"Many educators of the private school world feel that economic shifts bring to the top people whose children have had no proper family background and tone, and that the private school is a prime institution in preparing them to live at the top of the nation in a manner befitting upper-class men and women. And whether the headmasters know it or not, it seems to be a fact that like the hierarchy of clubs for the fathers--but in more important and deeper ways--the private schools do perform the task of selecting and training newer members of a national upper stratum, as well as upholding the higher standards among the children of families who have long been at the top. It is in `the next generation,' in the private school, that the tensions between new and old upper classes are relaxed and even resolved. And it is by means of these schools more than by any other single agency that the older and the newer families--when their time is due--become members of a self-conscious upper class."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From C.Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 3

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following in reference to the U.S. prep school educational system:

"Each stage of this education is important to the formation of the upper-class man or woman; it is an educational sequence that is common to the upper classes in all the leading cities of the nation. There is, in fact, a strong tendency for children from all these cities to attend one of the more fashionable boarding or prep schools in New England, in which students from two dozen or so states, as well as from foreign countries, may be readily found. As claims for status based on family descent become increasingly difficult to realize, the proper school transcends the family pedigree in social importance. Accordingly, if one had to choose one clue to the national unity of the upper social classes in America today, it would best be the really exclusive boarding school for girls and prep school for boys."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Who Rules The Chapin School?--The Goldman Sachs & JP Morgan Chase Connection

Coincidentally, The Chapin School's board of trustees has included both a trustee of the Goldman Sachs corporate foundation and a corporate lawyer who represents JP Morgan Chase, in recent years.

The Simpson Thacher corporate law firm's site, for example, includes the following reference to a member of The Chapin School board of trustees named Jeremiah L. Thomas III:

"Jerry Thomas is Of Counsel in the Firm's Corporate Department. Mr. Thomas concentrates on general corporate, securities and banking law matters. He is also in charge of managing the relationship with some of the Firm's most important clients.

"Mr. Thomas represents J.P. Morgan Chase on a regular basis in its corporate activities and as issuer's counsel for its securities issuances. He also represents J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and other major underwriters as underwriters' counsel in connection with public offerings and Rule 144A/Reg S offerings of debt and equity securities. He has also represented Phillips Petroleum Company and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company in their capital markets financing activities.

"Mr. Thomas joined Simpson Thacher in 1972 and became a partner in 1980. He is a long-time member of the Firm's Executive Committee and was one of the Firm's Administrative Partners from 1992 to 1995. Mr. Thomas has served as Legal Counsel to The Metropolitan Golf Association since 1983. He is a Trustee of The Chapin School in New York City..."

Another member of The Chapin School's board of trustees, Stuart Rothenberg, is a a former managing director of Goldman Sachs who has also sat on the board of trustees of the Goldman Sachs Foundation in recent years.

The Chapin School's board of trustees also includes Greenhill & Co. CEO & board member Scott L. Bok (who also sits on the Iridium Communications corporate board), Clayton Dubilier & Rice chairman and Williams College Trustee Emeritus Joseph L. Rice (who also is on the boards of Rexel, Uniroyal Holding and the right-wing Manhattan Institute), Dillard's Inc. and Takihyo LLC board member Frank R. Mori and the great-granddaughter of former American Surgar Refining President Henry Osborne Havemeyer, Metropolitan Museum of Art Special Counsel to The Board of Trustees Lindaen Havemeyer Wise.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Do Chapin School Administrators Make Big Money?

Although New York City has a public school system, some wealthy folks in Manhattan apparently pay the "non-profit" and tax-exempt prep school for young women that's located near East End Avenue and 84th Street in Manhattan, The Chapin School, over $33,000 per year to be allowed inside The Chapin School classrooms. And with assets that exceeded $31 million in 2008, according to its Form 990 financial filing, The Chapin School apparently pays its prep school administrators some hefty annual salaries for preparing its 717 female students for eventual entrance into elite universities like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia.

In 2008, for example, The Chapin School paid its Head of School $302,257, its Director of Finance $206,609, its Director of Advancement $166,495, its Assistant Head of School $157,254, its Plant Director $132,999, its Head of Middle School $142,721 and its Head of Upper School 128,304, according to its Form 990 financial filing for 2008.

Between 2006 and 2010, 15 Chapin School graduates were accepted by Harvard University, 13 were accepted by Yale University, 14 were accepted by Princeton University, 8 were accepted by Columbia University, 10 were accepted by Dartmouth University, 24 were accepted by Cornell University, 18 were accepted by the University of Pennsylvania, 11 were accepted by Brown University, 3 were accepted by Stanford University, and 4 were accepted by Barnard College. And 15 percent of this prep school's Class of 2009 ended up enrolling at the most exclusive tax-exempt U.S. elite universities.

Coincidentally, the prep school students at The Chapin School apparently can get a lot more individual attention from their teachers than do most New York City public school graduates since the student to teacher ratio at The Chapin School is just 7 to 1, while the student to teacher ratio at most U.S. public schools generally exceeds 17 to 1.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

From C. Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 2

In his classic book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following:
"The daughter of an old upper-class New York family, for example,...goes to a private day school, perhaps Miss Chapin's or Brearley. She is often driven to and from school by the family chauffeur...When she is about fourteen she goes to boarding school, perhaps to St. Timothy's in Maryland or Miss Porter's or Westover in Connecticut. Then she may attend Finch Junior College of New York City...or if she is to attend college proper, she will be enrolled, along with many plain middle-class women, in Bryn Mawr or Vassar or Wellesley or Smith or Bennington...

"The boy of the family...will go to day school, and...to boarding school, although for boys it will be called prep school: St. Mark's or St. Paul's, Choate or Groton, Andover or Lawrenceville, Phillips Exeter or Hotchkiss. Then he will go to Princeton or Harvard, Yale or Dartmouth. As likely as not, he will finish with a law school attached to one of these colleges..."

From C.Wright Mills' `The Power Elite'--Part 1

In his class 1956 book, The Power Elite, sociologist C.Wright Mills wrote the following:
"The one deep experience that distinguishes the social rich from the merely rich and those below is their schooling, and with it, all the associations, the sense and sensibility, to which this educational routine leads throughout their lives."