Education is a very important to our lives and future careers, but is school teaching us the necessary subjects for life? On this week's Education Enlightenment, we look into the subjects taught in school and their relevance.
There is of course a basic need for an understanding of core subjects like English, Math, Science, and History, but maybe not to the level being learned now. Depending on your future career, you will never use half the things taught in those subjects. For example I would like to go into the medical field of employment and I can almost guarantee that I will never use geometry or history unless the history is of medicine. People can argue that these classes have benefits other than teaching us the literal lesson like building problem solving skills or responsibility. However, these skills can also be taught in other classes that could be used later in life. In my school district as well as quite a few others I know of, students are expected to choose a career path (if not a job) by ninth grade. If we are pressured to pick a path, should we not be able to also pick the classes that would best prepare ourselves for that career?
There is also the issue of “real-life” relevance. An astonishing 87% of high school students don't know much about handling money or personal finance (Tuggle). Its not that they don't want to learn, it's more that they don't feel they have the resources. “A recent poll by Sallie Mae found that 84 percent of high school students desire more financial education. Among 16- to 18-year-olds, 86 percent said they would rather learn about money management in the classroom than make financial mistakes in the real world, according to a 2011 survey by investment bank Charles Schwab.” (Bortz). Handling money is a very important part of life and isn't the role of schools to prepare us for life or at the very least, a job? Learning how to manage money or pay taxes could very easily be included in a math class or created into a new mandatory class.
If there was an ideal group of school subjects, it would consist of classes that could be used in their future career like chemistry for people interested in forensics or geometry for those interested in construction, as well as a mandatory economics/personal finance class. This would make each school day much more productive in the long term as we could very easily figure out what we like and don't like as well as be near more people with like interests. Lastly we could always offer classes that don't directly correspond with students future career paths and offer them as electives so that people who enjoy the sciences but plan to go into economics and business can still learn about things that interest them.
Tuggle, Kathryn. “Teaching Gap: 83% of Teens Don’t Know How to Manage Money.” Fox Business, Fox Business, 11 Jan. 2016, www.foxbusiness.com/features/teaching-gap-83-of-teens-dont-know-how-to-manage-money.
Bortz, Daniel. “Why Most High Schoolers Don’t Know How to Manage Their Money.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 2012, money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/10/09/why-most-high-schoolers-dont-know-how-to-manage-their-money.