Now, I’m a big supporter of education. I believe that the more we know about diverse subjects, the better off we are in our personal lives, the relationships that we hold, and our careers. I’m also a huge fan of learning for fun. Some people collect figurines, some people collect coins, I collect knowledge.
So what’s my point? Knowledge is important. But just knowing a bunch of random facts isn’t going to get you anywhere. You have to know how to survive, before Napoleon Bonaparte becomes relevant. So, my question to you is, are schools doing their job?
In my opinion, no. Setting survival aside for a minute, our schools aren’t even teaching kids the information they want to teach them. Schools are teaching kids how to memorize facts and number, and how to take a test. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “teaching to the test.” When teachers only introduce students to the information on the test, the students don’t actually learn the information, they just memorize it.
When I was in high school, I remember teachers looking through their notes and mumbling, “That’s not on your test, so we won’t go over it.” Or they would briefly explain something, and conclude with “But that won’t be on your test.”
School aren’t teaching children anything.
But back to that survival thing. My curriculum spent years trying to drill imaginary numbers, the periodic table, Shakespearean classics, and the great depression into our minds. That’s all good and well. And I think those are important topics to know about. But when I graduated, I, in no way, felt prepared for the real world. I had no idea how to pay my taxes, how to buy a car or a house, how to choose my political party, or how to shop for insurance. Admittedly, I still don’t fully understand a few of those, but give me a break, I’m only 20.
I know that paying taxes is something that everyone has to do, and if you don’t, well, that’s bad. But I don’t actually know how to do it properly.
As for buying a car or a house, well, I’m sure it’s not that complicated, but what’s a credit score? How do I get one? What’s a good score and what’s just okay? How do I improve it? And what’s a mortgage? How does that work?
I remember being told that everyone should vote. In fact, I remember my government teacher tell us, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the government.” I agree. But how do I decipher all of that political jargon? How do I know what I’m voting for? It’s all very confusing.
And insurance? What? How do I know what a good rate is? How do I know what company to use? do I really need dental insurance? What happens if I don’t have it?
Now, some of these questions I have found answers for in the last few years. But my point is that students spend so much time in school, it would be nice if they knew how to function in society by the time they graduate. There are things I learned in high school that I still remember, but have no use for. I can recite the preamble to the constitution, but That doesn’t help me file my taxes. I can tell you the first 20 or so digits of pi. Unfortunately, my chosen career path hardly requires basic math. Although I do enjoy physics. And I can tell you all about the hidden symbolism in Heart of Darkness, but I can’t tell you what the 30 human rights are.
If schools spent a little less time on the quadratic equation, and a little more time on how to be a productive member of society, I bet we’d have less problems in our society.
So should everyone drop out of school and take an accounting class at their local community college? NO. PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT. Stay in school. The things you learn in school, provided you actually earn them, are important. We shouldn’t get rid of school, we just need to revise the curriculum.
So why did I title this “Don’t Stay in School”? Because all of this was inspired by a video I found by the same name on Facebook.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think our public school system should focus more on life skills than concepts that will be used by maybe two of the students in the class. That’s what higher education is for. High school is meant to prepare you for life. College is meant to prepare you for your career.
Stay in school!