John McCain went to 20 schools before Annapolis, as his father, a Navy submariner, was transferred from base to base.
When they lived in Indonesia, Barack Obama’s mother woke him at 4 am to study correspondence-school English lessons.
Both went on to elite private schools: Obama started Punahou in fifth grade; McCain went to an Episcopal high school.
Education Next has more on The Early Education of Our Next President.
McCain calls the base schools â€œsubstandard.â€ Sometimes the schoolhouse was â€œnothing more than a converted aircraft hangar,â€ he writes. â€œThe classes mixed children of varying ages. We might have one teacher on Monday and a different one on Tuesday. On other days, we lacked the services of any teacher at all.â€ Needless to say, he was â€œoften required in a new school to study things I had already learned. Other times, the curriculum assumed knowledge I had not yet acquired.â€
He developed a love of reading after spending a summer reading his father’s old books by Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Booth Tarkington.
Obama lived with his grandparents while his mother earned a PhD in anthropology in Indonesia. She nagged by letter. His father, who was Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard, visited once when his son was in fifth grade.
(He) counseled his son, during a brief visit that first year at Punahou, not to be shy about doing well in school. â€œItâ€™s in the blood, I think,â€ he told his son.
And then he left.
Sarah Palin, McCain’s pick for veep, is married to a part-Eskimo oil worker, fisherman and snowmobile racing champion who never finished college and doesn’t miss it.
“For those of us who learn by touching and tearing stuff apart and for those who don’t have the financial background to go to college, just being a product of that on-the-job training is really important,” (Todd) Palin said …
Joe Biden attended parochial schools and then a Catholic prep school, so Sarah Palin, daughter of a science teacher and a school secretary, appears to be the only one of the four educated at the local public schools.