Spells trouble

So here in Australia, thanks to Senator Fielding, we now know that ‘fiscal’ has neither 3 syllables (as in physical) nor a K.  Turns out that Fielding has trouble with language thanks to a form of dyslexia that resulted in his achieving only 29 in his final high school English exams.  His other marks were exceptional (all in the 90s) so this is not an issue of intellect, but rather of a specific aptitude that Fielding lacks in regard to language skills. Fielding was addressing a media contingent a few days ago, and after he had referring several times to ‘physical policy’ one intrepid reporter inquired if he didn’t mean ‘fiscal policy’. Fielding replied “fiscal – F-I-S-K-A-L” to the collective surprise (and then delight) of everyone in the media who knew that’s not how you spell fiscal. So now we have people coming to Fielding’s defence, saying “leave the poor bloke alone, he can’t help it if he can’t spell”.

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Unconvincing arguments for music education

In the debates over the place of music in education a range of arguments are put forward as to why music education should be a mandatory component of every child’s schooling.  Most of these arguments are unpersuasive, as it turns out;  the proof of this bold assertion is in the fact that most children’s music education is cursory, peripheral, or non-existent in all but the very best-resourced schools. The first argument that really underpins most pleas for music education for all children is that music is good.  Not that it is good for you (that would be a utilitarian argument) but rather that it is good in and of itself, and by virtue of this all children should be educated in music.  [This is the educational equivalent of believing that music is not about anything, that it is about itself, or that it about nothing, and this was certainly the dominant view in academia for much of the second half

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