The Big Think

January 6, 2014

The Obamacare We Don’t Deserve

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 4:48 pm

Adding statist insult to injury:

“Zack thought he was going to have to pay several hundred dollars more a month for roughly the same level of coverage for him and his wife, before you even factored in the kids. They didn’t have the money for it.

Zack finally managed to insure himself and the missus for roughly what they pay now, for an Obamacare-compliant plan with a $6,000-plus deductible. That should come in handy if one of them is struck by a car. Other expenses will have to be covered out of pocket, costing them more.

As for the kids, Zack couldn’t swing it. He had to sign them up for a highly subsidized public plan offered by the state. ‘Under Obamacare, I went from being a successful, self-sustaining small businessman,’ Zack told me, disdainfully, ‘to now signing my kids up as dependents of the state.’”

And still we’re hearing crickets from many of the folks who said that this would all work out. No “I was wrong” admissions anywhere.

Good in Theory

Filed under: Education,Music — jasony @ 3:55 pm

Everything you always wanted to know about music theory. Well, at least everything you’re probably ever going to need. In Theory V in college we got into Shenkerian Analysis and other 20th century arcana that I’ve always thought of as an unnecessary analysis imposed from the outside. Outside of extended theory classes and dead 20th Century composers, not too many people still use that silliness. Gratefully forgotten.

Still, the YouTube classes listed above are a great place to start if you want a clear and step-by-step introduction to real music theory. It goes fairly deep, too– probably covers 99.9% of popular, non-symphonic/movie music nowadays.

Plus, it’s narrated in a dulcet British accent, so there’s that.

Another Way of Learning

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 3:43 pm

Consider alternative schooling: Column:

“Back in the 19th century, when Massachusetts Board of Education Secretary Horace Mann toured Europe looking for models of public education to import to America, the one he chose came from Prussia. Inflexibility and uniformity were Prussian specialties, and when Mann brought Prussian-style education to America, those characteristics were seen not as a bug but as a feature.

School was practice for working in the factory. Thus, the traditional public school: like a factory, it runs by the bell. Like machines in a factory, desks and students are lined up in orderly rows. When shifts (classes) change, the bell rings again, and students go on to the next class. And within each class, the subjects are the same, the assignments are the same, and the examinations are the same, regardless of the characteristics of individual students.

This had its advantages back during the Industrial Revolution, an assembly-line era where uniformity was more important than anything else, when Henry Ford was happy to sell you a car in any color you wanted, so long as it was black. But this is the 21st century, and now times have changed. You can buy a thousand different kinds of shampoo, so why should your kid have only one kind of education?

Many parents, thus, are embracing alternative education — like homeschooling or online school — not only as a way of escaping the often-poor instructional quality and questionable discipline of public schools, but also as a way of escaping the rigidities they bring.

It’s easy to miss just how much inflexibility is introduced into American life by the traditional public school approach, but those rigidities are legion.”

Read the whole thing

I’m very excited about the future of education. As the current system continues to creak and groan at the seams, turning out subpar students and abysmal thinkers, we have witnessed a flowering of alternatives. It is the normal occurrence to meet a student from these alternatives and find them much more eloquent, relational, and educated than the average public school student. Here’s hoping that alternative choices– and the improvements they bring– continue to flourish.

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