Rick Perry has not yet formally announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in 2012, although most people are pretty sure he will run. But early though it may be, we already have his college transcripts, which were published at HuffPo via “a source in Texas.”
I guess the intrepid HuffPo detectives have no “sources” in Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York City, or Boston, because in the four and a half years since Obama formally announced his candidacy in February of 2007, we have yet to see a single grade of his from Punahou, Occidental, Columbia, or Harvard Law.
Not that I much care what grades any of them got. I actually do not think that college grades matter for much of anything except academia, or to indicate that one is a scholarly sort of person (and I say this as just that sort of person, possessing uniformly excellent college grades from stellar institutions—except for integral calculus at the college level, which I failed). I just don’t see that much of a connection between college grades and what we might call Real Life.
Perry might be suffering from the Student Anxiety Dream right about now—you know, the one where you’re at an exam and you find you’re sweating bullets because you suddenly realize you haven’t studied and you know you’re going to flunk, even though you’re all grown up now and haven’t been in school for decades? Even though your accomplishments since school might be quite impressive?
Some of those mocking Perry for his grades also point out that the school he received them from, Texas A&M, is hardly Harvard. True enough–but it’s probably more difficult to get a good grade at the former than the latter, with its rampant grade inflation. In addition, Perry is sixty-one years old (that was a surprise to me; he looks mighty good for his age). You young whippersnappers may not realize that when he attended college a “C” was a far more respectable grade than it is now. Perry also seems to have taken a lot of heavy-duty science courses, known far and wide as a generally more difficult and labor-intensive course of study than a concentration in the humanities.
Not that Perry was a big scholar. Clearly, he was not. And just as clearly, he (and others) should be evaluated on his job performance since then, and what he intends to do if he were to be elected president.
[NOTE: I hardly knew a thing about Texas A&M before this, but I looked it up in Wiki, and it's a well-respected university:
In the 2011 U.S. News and World Report ranking of public universities, Texas A&M is listed 22nd; among "national universities" the school tied for 63rd place...In 2009 the National Science Foundation has recognized Texas A&M as one of the top 20 research institutions.
Internationally, the university is also well-regarded. Newsweek International ranked Texas A&M as the 77th university globally on the basis of "openness and diversity" as well as "distinction in research". In a comparison of educational quality, faculty quality, and research output, Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranked Texas A&M 53rd in the Americas and 88th internationally. The Times Higher Education Supplement listed Texas A&M 60th among the world's top 100 technology universities, 24th among America's top biomedicine universities, and 50th among North America's top 50 universities.
Not too shabby. Any graduates here care to defend your alma mater?]