My brother Paul’s memoirs — three copies — arrived in the mail. I read them, & noted Paul’s strong focus on personalities. He remembers with ease, and in detail, almost everyone he met and worked with, in great contrast to my own minimal memories of my acquaintances.
Today was a prototypical summer’s day: up late, fed the boys breakfast, had some email exchange with Green Party colleagues [crisis! 3 days after being nominated, Candy Neville says she doesn’t want to run for US Senator!], read the newly-arrrived New York Review of Books, and found an event I want to attend on 14 August.
For forty years British education has been subjected to a catastrophic sequence of “reforms” aimed at curbing its elitist inheritance and institutionalizing “equality”.
The havoc wrought in higher education was well summarized by Anthony Grafton in this magazine [cf., his “Britain: The Disgrace of the Universities,” NY Review of Books 8 April 2010], but the worst damage has been at the secondary level.
Intent upon destroying the selective state schools that afforded my generation a first-rate education at public expense, politicians have foisted upon the state sector a system of enforced downward uniformity.
The result, predicted from the outset, has been that selective private schools have flourished. Desperate parents pay substantial fees to exempt their children from dysfunctional state schools; universities are under inordinate pressure to admit underqualified candidates from the latter and have lowered their admissions standards accordingly; each new government has initiated reforms aimed at compensating for the failed “initiatives” of their predecessors.
Today, when the British government mandates that 50 percent of high school graduates should attend university, the gap separating the quality of education received by the privately schooled minority from that of everyone else is greater than at any time since the 1940s.
They consistently outperform their state-educated peers — a dirty little secret that no one cares to acknowledge but that panicked New Labour governments. It does seem curious [that so many] curse the private schools for thriving in a market while enthusiastically rewarding bankers for doing so.
Successive education ministers have authorized and encouraged “academies” — furtively reintroducing (with the help of private money) the very process of selection of whose abolition on egalitarian grounds they once so proudly boasted. Meanwhile we now have more private school graduates in the British cabinet than for decades past (17 at my count) — and the first Old Etonian prime minister since 1964.
Perhaps we should have stuck with meritocracy
Volume 57, No. 13, pp. 4-6, quote on p. 6
5 August 6:40 pm
Bipartisan Cafe Portland Metro Chapter
Pacific Green Party meeting
Just Solon [Joachim] & me. I am able to give him in xerox copy the pages of Paul’s memoirs dealing with Haiti.
Seth Woolley arrives. Talk turns to Candy Neville and her waffling on candidacy: Solon urges a Portland delegation go to Candy’s house in Eugene; I promise to call her to try to arrange such a meeting [Candy Neville’s phone no: 541 683-4003].
Walt & Beverly [Brown] appear. The former expresses concern about PGP ballot access. Seth replies to the effect that there’s nothing to worry about. We have 8300 registrants now, & are rising at about 1 % a month: that would be enough to retain ballot access in any election for governor that totaled less than 1,660,000. But in 2006 the no who voted for governor [Seth checks this on his Blackberry] was only 1,380,000.
Chris Extine, Jorden Leonard arrive. After discussion with Beverly Solon no longer insists upon a personal interview with Candy Neville. Walt is now reassured that PGP’s ballot access will survive, even with no PGP candidate for statewide partisan office.
Walt asks us to consider, together, the likely maneuvering of our peers, the other minor political parties of Oregon. The Working Families Party, to maintain ballot access, must put at least one candidate up for statewide office. Both Barbara Dudley [WFP cofounder; Natl Lawyers’ Guild] and Ted Fertig [executive director of WFP] are on record as informally assuring Walt that they expect to run a woman for
[page 78 reverse]
5 August 2010
Twenty-three dollars in donations
Meo for Congress Treasurer
Now, with respect to the Oregon Progressive Party, ballot access is available simply by canvass; but the much easier route is to nominate a candidate for statewide partisan office: Seth reports the presumptive OPP candidate will be the loose cannon, Jerry Wilson.
Seth updates us all on the status of the lawsuit filed to prevent the new rule to identify political parties by 3-letter acronyms.
We discuss Ron MacCarty: it is accepted by all present, he’s a garrulous old man [in margin: Walt dissents from that characterization]. Walt brings up the topic of Mark Callahan: young, naive, well-intentioned.
We joke about the Pirate Party: Beverly and Jorden agree to disagree. Seth agrees to send to Jorden a list of radio stations which might be interested in interviewing me.
Walt’s investigating a possible monthly forum for progressive politics on the PSU campus. It will have many of the same speakers as the Eastside democratic Club: the Oregon Consumer League and the Socialist Party (or other socialist group). It will convene at around 6 pm in the basement of Smith Hall. It may involve cable-access broadcast TV. He promises to invite me on.
Walt speaks of Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News. I don’t know what his point was. We all sign Chris Extine’s petition to get his candidate’s statement into the Voter’s Pamphlet. 9 pm adjourned
6 August 2010
Remember Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Create a Nuclear-free future. Friday, August 6th 6 pm Japanese American Historical Plaza on the waterfront
I did not go but I did remember.