Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

getting eddicated

Yesterday I could not reach someone by telephone. I will take the train downtown to handle a matter in person I had hoped to handle by telephone.  I walked yesterday in Half-Priced Books and in Best Buy rather than in a city park. I did my monthly intake of new clients at the Garland pro bono clinic.  We went until 9:15 or so, with lots of clients. I like that the clients were all nice people.

The national news continues to puzzle. Although I remain optimistic that things will eventually improve, it looks as if we will continue to have more absurdity before things improve.  I hope that voters turn out in 2018, and that voters vote the way I want them to vote in the next election.

Yesterday was Results Day in much of the United Kingdom. I "watch"  it every year on social media via Twitter. I find the UK system fascinating, in which university admission offers can be predicated upon achieving x grades on the A-Levels, a set of comprehensive examinations. We have some analogous situations here, but it all works a bit differently and a bit less uniformly here. Social media allows one to see folks discuss their results in real time. Oddly, one also reads annual tweets by Jeremy Clarkson, the former host of car show Top Gear.  He posts annually how he did poorly on his A-levels and now he is a rich and comfortable man. Though I think his intentions are good, I notice that lots of 17 and 18 year-old folks feel little need of tweets about how events they find heart-breaking were but a bump in the road for a now-middle-aged man who improbably found success as a media presenter, before he punched someone at work. Overall, I am not offended by use of examinations to assist with school admissions. But it is a lot of pressure for kids. I think that it's far better, though, than some other things kids that age have faced in recent history. It's a myth that kids reaching young adulthood have ever been sheltered from challenges.

People in this country and the UK can discuss applying to "reach" schools and to "safety schools". I never applied to a "reach" school in my life, with perhaps one exception, and always looked into "safety schools". Both my undergraduate school and my law school were schools a bit less selective than my grades and standardized test scores would have permitted me to attend. It's not a huge difference--my credentials would have gotten me into more selective schools than the state universities I attended, but not into truly elite, selective schools. But I think about how social class filtered into that outcome.

My parents were both children of folks who did not get to attend university after high school.  My mother's mother did get her normal certificate, which involved some teacher training, but did not get a university degree until my mother was college-age. My mother's father could not attend university despite high grades after he had to work to help support his family when his father died of tuberculosis.  My father's father and my father's mother never went beyond high school, and I am not aware of their aspiring to ever do so.

My parents valued education, in part because their parents valued, though they did not obtain (save one grandparent in later life), much formal post-secondary education. But their notion of the pinnacle was not to have a child in an elite school far away.  Their notion was to send their children to state universities. This was more affordable. But also this offered the possibility that kids who went to the state university would stay nearby after university. My father had gone to a more elite university than the state university, though not  quite a "top" school. He found the experience a bit of a mixed blessing, as his classmates included folks who had better educational backgrounds than what he had received in high school. He had been co-valedictorian of his high school class but university was more difficult for him. He ultimately did well enough to get into the University of Arkansas Medical School, though not into the medical school at Tulane, his undergraduate institution. But the experience caused him to have a lifelong belief that the local state university was a simpler way to get an education.  As applied to me, his new belief worked out pretty well. I retain, though, a lifelong prejudice in favor of public education, public libraries, and educational opportunity for all as a social equalizer.  I think one of the most pernicious things in our society is the concerted effort to shift more costs of post-secondary education onto kids. This has the effect of making it harder for kids who grow up poorer to get post-secondary education. I'd like to see that trend reverse a bit.

We have rain predicted again today. This has been a surprisingly "normal" Summer, except it's been a bit wetter than usual. I hope it is not cloudy on Monday, the day of the 75 percent eclipse here.

breakfast: brown rice cereal and skim milk
lunch: turkey sandwich and baked chips
dinner: three slices buffet pepperoni pizza, pickles, cucumbers and

(lovingly copied by hand from Dreamwidth by the LiveJournal cyber-angels)

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