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.