20th June, 2013

I get really tired of images on the Internet that celebrate Jobs/Gates/Zuckerberg leaving school.

Because if we’re playing the American semantics game, then those images are wrong.  Those men didn’t leave school; they left COLLEGE.  And college is an entirely optional, voluntary investment that no one really HAS to do.  And those three men are gifted individuals who are the EXCEPTION, not the rule, for the need of post-secondary education.

They WENT to school.  They studied at some sort of school to complete their compulsory primary and secondary education in America.  Gates went to an exclusive prep school called Lakeside.  Jobs went to Homestead High School.  Zuckerberg went to Ardsley High School and then moved on to a prep school called Exeter Phillips Academy.  

The celebration of those men bucking the system is a false one.  They benefited from compulsory education; some of it *gasp* public.  Zuckerberg and Gates have gone on to donate money and develop programs to reinvigorate education in America.  So we can’t sit here and say or pretend they didn’t value the system, when they obviously see some value in it enough to want to help* it.  

Furthermore, all three of those men benefited in some way FROM that postsecondary education that they never completed.  We wouldn’t have Facebook, obviously.  Gates networked with people who eventually ran Microsoft with him.  Jobs even credits a calligraphy class he took for the look and appearance of Mac’s OS.

Do not hold these men up as idols and revolutionaries when they owe a lot to the system you think they rejected.  

(**And I understand Gates’s/Zuckerberg’s ideas of help are vastly controversial, but sometimes it’s the thought that counts.)

Notes

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