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The Contender
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Schools should be teaching about real-life related things more, and remove a lot of their subjects

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/28/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 349 times Debate No: 81721
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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The Rules are simple. You state why I am wrong. The winner will be chosen by voters. No swearing, and stay on topic. There will be no debating on the first round. You introduce yourself, and state your beliefs on this topic.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I will give you eight words to kick this debate off. School does not prepare you for real life. Why though? Well, it's simple. They do not teach you how to live in the real world. We are taught a lot of things in school that do not apply in real life. Calculus is a good example. Bill Gates gave a speech about real life and listed eleven useful things school did not teach you. He stated that school does not teach you that life is not fair, the world does not care about you, you probably will not make a lot of money once you graduate high school, bosses are a lot tougher than teachers, flipping burgers is not below your dignity, if you mess up, it's your fault, your parents were not boring before you were born, but got boring taking care of you, life does do away with winners and losers, there are no semesters or summer vacations, and employers do not care, TV is not real life, and to be nice to nerds.

Now, onto another important point. School teaches you things that are dangerous in real life. Forbes made a list of nine dangerous things school has taught you. The first one was that the people in charge have all the answers. Not true; not even the slightest bit true. The second one was learning ends when you leave the classroom. I do not have to explain this one. Number three was the best and brightest follow the rules. There are plenty of bright people in this world that were the best in school that are mean. Apparently, Donald Trump was a bright student, but he is not a nice man. Number four was quote: "What the books say is always true." There are plenty of lies in school textbooks, that can be detected in school textbooks; for example, the story of Thanksgiving's origins (all of it). Number five was quote: "There is a very clear, single path to success." I do not need to explain this one as well. Number six was saying that being a good person is as important as getting good marks. That is wrong by a long shot. Your marks are not anywhere near important as staying alive. Number seven was quote: "Standardized tests measure your value." Standardized tests mean absolutely nothing. Number eight was quote: "Days off are always more fun than sitting in the classroom. Being in class can be quite fun when you are actually learning something useful. And finally, number nine was quote: "The purpose of your education is your future career." Sorry, but your education does not help you in your future career (not in the U.S.A. anyway).

I will end this round with what I have. Sources are at the bottom.


Concerning Pro"s opening statement:
Pro argues that "school does not prepare you for real life." He then lists a series of philosophical lessons about life. Some of them no doubt would be taught in school, if not specifically in a classroom. To use his first example, I personally cannot imagine how anyone could survive high school without learning that life is not fair. To go to high school is to be immersed in that truth.

Beyond this, much of what Pro wants students to learn could not be taught in a classroom. Certainly a teacher could stand up and say, "Life is not like TV. Reality is different from fiction." That, of course, is true. But a 16-year-old who does not yet know that life is not like fiction will not likely believe because a teacher says so. While many of the lesson Pro wants students to learn are true, they are truths that some people must figure out for themselves and cannot be taught by others.

Overall, it seems that what Pro wants is a philosophy class in high school. A class that studies the idea of knowledge, truth, dignity, right living, and the nature of life. On that I agree! A required (or at least elective) philosophy class should be a part of any quality high school curriculum. But we are talking about one class which would cover every lesson Pro has talked about and more. Cutting several other classes to make room for this one class is not reasonably justified.

Why we should keep calculus:
While we are debating a variety of subjects that could be kept or cut, I will focus on calculus because it is the only one Pro brought up by name. However, many of the concepts I mention here could easily be applied to a variety of other topics.

The average person will not use calculus in life on a regular basis. That much is true. But that does not mean calculus is without value.

One we get past "reading, writing, and arithmetic," the goal of education is to teach a person how to think. Education teaches students that there are different are different ways to think, different ways to approach problems in life, different ways to understand the world. This goes beyond the simple statement of "there are different ways to think." To gain a meaningful understanding of different ways to think students need to put different styles of thought into practice. Calculus, like many of the classes Pro would probably like to cut, introduces students to a new method of thinking.

Calculus teaches students to think numerically.[1] The value of calculus is not in knowing calculus, but in understanding how to think in a new way. Calculus is the study of mathematically defined change [2]. Understanding calculus helps people analyze and understand change in all areas of life. Even if students never uses calculus for the rest of their lives, learning to think the style of calculus is invaluable.

The understanding of mathematical change affects nearly every area of life. Of course engineers uses calculous in design work. But the concept of change goes beyond that. Artists and those who enjoy art understand how art expresses change, and calculus bring a new dimension to that change. Those who think philosophically view the nature of free will and determinism through the lenses of change that we gain from calculus.[3]

There are other advantages to learning calculus that have nothing to do with calculus itself. Learning calculus teaches students how to study, work hard, and understand difficult material. One of the big advantages to calculus is that it is difficult to learn. Undertaking and completing the task of learning calculus, whether you want to or not, is itself a worthwhile lesson.

The goal of learning calculus is not simply to know calculus. It is to know how to think. To look at the world without calculus is to, as Sherlock Holmes accused Watson of doing, see but not observe. Calculus helps us to observe at least a little bit more.



Debate Round No. 2


Maybe not cut those classes, but make them optional. I am going to list extremely valuable real-life lessons that can be taught in school, and anything else important. Now, some people say that it is the parent's job to teach the children about real life, but what about the children that don't have parents, have terrible parents, or have parents that do not know how the real world works. Maybe the parents were not taught real life as well, but I don't know, because I don't know other people's personal lives. Now let us list valuable life lessons that school can teach, but will not. is a website that was made specifically to help people at life. One day an article was made on called "Top Ten Skills we Wish were Taught in School, but Usually aren't>" In it they told you important things in life that school did not bother to teach you. Number ten was Computer Science. In this world of automation, and the fact that robots will become the workforce in the near future; the only job for humans will be computer coding. Number nine was speed reading. Speed reading is an essential skill that can help you a lot in the future when you are in a hurry. I do not know why school does not teach this as it would really help you in school. Number eight was time management. Time management is one of the most important life skills in society. It allows you to figure out what is important, and what is not. It is essential in everything, but school does not teach this. Maybe that's partially the reason why around 1.2 million students do not graduate high school. Number seven was learning how to learn effectively. Why are not schools not teaching this? Learning is supposed to be interesting, but kids are not learning, because of them not learning how to learn effectively could be the reason. Number six was basic money management. I don't really have to go to in depth with this one, but student debt is around one trillion dollars, and many other people are in bad debt. There are many reasons for this, but not knowing how to manage money is one of the biggest reasons for this. Number five was survival skills. Knowing how to survive by far is a lot more important thank knowing how how to do complex math, complex science, etc... Number four was negotiation skills. Learning how to negotiate with someone who has a gun at your head, someone that is considering suicide, trying to make a good partnership, etc... is also more important than a lot of the other stuff school teaches you. Number three was basic self defense. Basic self defense is important, because getting mugged, raped, murdered, etc... is terrible. That should not happen to anybody, but it does. Number two was mental health. Mental health plays a huge role on people, and most students are not taught how to understand it. Number one was how to get a job. In order to make money you need a job, and you need to know how to get one. Parents are not going to teach you how to get a job, so why not have school teach you.

Another website called also made a list of essential things school did not teach you. Most of it was the same from, but it stated two more important things that school did not bother to teach you. One was how to make people like you. You want to be successful in life? You do? Well, here's the answer; it's not about what you know, it's about who you know. Getting people to like you will get you to know the right people, which will probably increase your chances of success. The other one was how to read a financial statement. I do not really need to explain this one. It is pretty obvious that it is important to know how to read a financial statement.

Sources are below.


Moving from "cut these classes" to "make them optional," is a big change to this debate. Yes, calculus (still the only class Pro has suggested cutting) should be optional. It is optional in nearly every high school curriculum. Only students taking a more challenging academic path take calculus. So I am good with calculus being optional, but not " as has been are debate thus far " with cutting calculus entirely.

Some of the other classes Pro mentioned could be useful and are already optional classes in schools that can afford them. This is not new. I took a high school class in computer programing, and that was longer ago than I am willing to admit. Money management is also taught in most high schools, either in "home economics" or "life skills" or some class of that nature.

If someone wants a career in computer programing, there is no way high school can prepare a person adequately. Higher education, such as an associate"s degree in programing, would be needed. The goal of high school is to teach a student how to think and learn. As I pointed out above, calculus is an excellent tool for that. Then students go on to college were they learn the specific skills for their chosen profession.

Similarly, there is no way high school could adequately prepare someone in self-defense. If a student desired to learn self-defense on their own that is all well and good, but it would require more than one high school class to become proficient to the point of actually defending themselves. However, the existing classes in high school, such as physical education, can give students the ability to learn more advanced physical activities like self-defense.

Of course some of the things Pro mentioned still can"t be taught in class. Time management is useful, but on an intellectual level it is not difficult. Most people can easily understand that they need to get their work done before they do other things. Putting that skill into practice is more difficult. Making friends, while a useful skill, is not something that can be taught in a classroom setting.

Pro has mentioned some useful life skills. However, the goal of school is to give students the tools to be able to learn a wide variety of other skills. School cannot teach everything. School is a place to start; the student must then choose to use the skill learned in school to continue learning throughout life.
Debate Round No. 3


To finish this off, I am going to be quick and simple for the sake of time. There was a poll on this website actually, and the poll was titled "Does School Really prepare Students for Adult Life." Eighty percent said no with the majority having valid points. However, the Yes side did have valid points too, but some of them actually listed things school taught you that did not apply in real life on the yes side. Last thing before I end this. The education system of the United States of America is flawed really bad, and needs a major overhaul. Changing the whole curriculum seems like a good way to change it, and make it work.

For those of you that want to comment; be professional.


The education system in America is flawed. It needs to be improved. Investment in education needs to be a higher priority. That said, simply abandoning the current curriculum is not the solution. The only class Pro ever mentioned cutting was calculus. Calculus is not right for everyone, which is why it is almost always an optional class not required for graduation. However, for those capable of doing the work to learn calculus the class is extremely valuable in many areas of life.

Much of the "real life" application Pro desired could not be taught in a classroom. Calculus can be taught in a classroom. However, the fact that reality is not like TV is something students either understand going in or it is something they have to learn for themselves. A teacher explaining it to them will not be effective.

Also, the goal of school is not to teach students everything. The goal of school is to teach students the basics and give the tools needed to go on and learn more about any specialty they might be interested it.

While increased funding and a wider variety of electives would be useful, that should not come at the expense of quality classes that already exist in school.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by BigDaddy.32 4 months ago
No votes have been placed for this debate.