Basic Life Knowledge Should Be Taught In School (Taxes, Rent, Loans, etc...)
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Let's say that you, a newly licensed individual are driving to work. You are driving down a hill on your way to work and happen to hit a curb and pop your tire. Now if you have a AAA card, then you can call them and have them help you with your situation, but this wait could be hours. If you had known how to change a tire, you could change it and be on your way. But if you don't? You could be in some big trouble especially if you're on a main road. A simple 30 minute course on how to change a tire and who to call if you pop one and don't have AAA could make a huge difference. Having a local mechanic come in for a low cost and educate our soon to be drivers on road safety and what to do in case of an emergency could change and save the lives of many. (Source 1)
You argue that it will be inconvenient and pain for already overloaded teachers is a completely valid argument and a good point to bring up. Topics such as taxes, loans, rent, how to manage a checking account, and many other life skills similar to these can be taught over a few classes by a willing math teacher. Even if a few teachers where to volunteer their time to educate these kids after school hours on these necessary life skills, I would be willing to bet there would be a large turnout.
Parents, in my eyes, are a child's primary educator. But they can only teach so much and in a way that may be unfamiliar, and there is no guarantee that all kids will have parents willing to teach these life lessons and there is no guarantee that all parents know these life skills themselves. If these skills where to be taught in a classroom environment, all students would be given the same knowledge to help them jump start their lives in the real world.
Source 1- http://www.wsj.com...
The examples that I gave were very limited so let me explain a little more. As I am from a very rich portion of the state and county that I am from, we are given this opportunity to take classes that teach life skills but very few kids take them. For example, one of the classes in this conglomeration is a course named "Dollars and Sense", with the primary attempt to give students the mindset that we should be wise with the money that we have later in our adult lives. There are so many classes that are not taken by enough students to form a single class that it would not only be a waste of time but a waste of money for the school district and the teacher because supplies are needed and the teacher must be paid for a class that has a bare amount of students. This shows that there is no need for these classes because no student is going to willingly go to a class about finances, loans, rent, or any other ideas as they may be seen as boring and useless as of now.
Along with this, if there is no willing teacher and no willing student, then what is there to do? In my district, we are given eight classes a year to take, four core courses (mathematics, science, history, and English) and four "elective" courses which allow students to be given the ability to chose classes based off of experiences and personal interest. Now, what the schools do in my district is they already require many classes that take up some of our four electives. If there are more required classes added to the already extensive amount needed to graduate and many kids just simply don't want to take it, more kids are going to see it as a worthless class.
Next, there is the problem of the variety and diversity of today's technology and how it is ever-changing. If we look at the facts, there are fart too many cars, computers, apartments, houses, policies, ideas, and politics in many of today's ideas to be presented to a teacher and have them understand. If a student within a class were to move to another country, then what do we do? There are too many different processes and ideas that there is simply no way that one person or even multiple people could understand all of them.
Finally, I understand your ideas on adulthood and parenting but I believe that the parent should be the one to teach some life skills but we must also realize that there is a difference within the idea of being told something and that actually happening. For example, we can tell someone that they will run out of money but until that person does, they will never be open to that idea. In another example, we may tell a person the way to change a tire but until a flat tire happens, what is the need for it? That 17 year old may never need that until they are 23 and will not remember how to do it step-by-step. Thank you :)
You're argument is very valid and a good point to bring up, but your example is one derived only from personal experience. Also, since you come from a wealthier neighborhood, parents are usually more knowing of these life skills and more willing to teach their children of these. Though it is a great argument, it only applies to a small percentage of students and families. These classes wouldn't have to be offered only after school. In most high and middle schools, there is at least one study hall or period a week. Students could either attend then, or the teachers could integrate skills in relation to their subject into their agenda. This would allow students to all be on the same playing field when they enter the real world.
You bring up the point of with today's growing and highly diverse technologies, it would be hard to teach all of them. Changing a tire on a car is almost always similar, and taxes are also the same case. College applications and bank loans can usually be found highly similar for most colleges and banks. Also, if a student where to have more questions after the class on their personnel examples such as their car happens to be highly different, they could talk to the teacher themselves and ask questions according to their situation. If the teacher doesn't know the answer, they can direct the student towards someone who does. Even if the teacher points the entire class towards a website or program that elaborates on the lessons taught in class, it would still be incredibly useful to have a teacher there to answer and clarify and questions a student may have.
Politics are a great example of something that can be taught in class and with the upcoming presidential election are often talked about within a classroom setting. But if teachers where to go deeper into the topic and teach about the United States government in particular such as what the different parties are and what each branch of the government does, it would help kids understand what, politically, is happening in the world around them.
Overall, the classes might be simple and not account for all needs of the students, but the give the students a basic idea of what is happening. When you have that basic knowledge, it helps you gather more information by yourself on specific questions or problems they may have. It clarifies what is going on in the world around them and opens up many more possibilities for success, which is what I think everyone wants for today's students.
Thank you and have a lovely Thanksgiving!
I see what you mean when you say that this only applies to the small percentage of the students and family in the higher classes but we must also must realize the lower classes. My middle to high class city is surrounded by mainly lower-middle to lower class cities that are very rural. What about them? The school district is struggling as it is and they have literally no money left after the necessities for the schools to stay open. The government/education department would be the only place to turn and that would cost an enormous amount of money to keep them open. In my state (Texas) the only class that is given the option to do study hall is the athletics organization and is only given that time after practice and changing in the locker room. What I am really trying to say here is that there is no time for schools, at least in my state, to do it.
I do believe that the idea of the online website could help as it is not involved in school and the teacher would not have to use up their time to help. Along with this, to back up the idea over the school periods, most high schools in my area also use a four period day schedule, so a student does not go the same class two days in a row. There is no study hall class option to take so where would the kids in my school take it? Many districts in my area are made up of students that have to work and do school at the same time so adding this class after school or even during school (many use half days to go to designated jobs) would take away from money that their families so desperately need. Also, what if a student is not able to make it into the classes or meetings? Again, my area is very urban and crowded resulting in the classes being extremely crowded (2200 students in a school made for a maximum of 1800-1900) and competitive to get into. Underclassman would be beaten out by the upperclassmen while trying to make it into the class, resulting in them having to wait and deal with another class to take. As for the meetings. if a student is in a sport and another team (UIL team and a sport, an example being Cross Country/Track and a team such as UIL Journalism) they have no time to go to meetings before and after school.
Third, my state requires a government/economic class to be taken in Fourth, Eighth, and Twelfth grade so there is already a class added to the Texas curriculum that fulfills that necessity.
Adding a little bit more to the conversation, there are far too many 'life skills' to be taught so it would be extremely hard to teach all of them satisfactorily within school curriculum for a year/semester/after school class.
Finally, I close with a final statement with one last idea. Many students in high school are not mature enough and would be very unenthusiastic and bored in this specific class/after school club. Along with this, many have testified online that they did have to take a 'life skills' class in school and was no use to them in the long run.
In my final statement, Life Skills classes are not needed as they would be too much of a burden on the students, teachers, and school districts.
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity and have an amazing Thanksgiving!
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