I feel like all of the other things you learn in school such as history, biology, etc. are important, don't get me wrong. However, I feel like we are failing as a nation because it isn't mandatory that students learn BASIC things such as balancing a checkbook, how credit scores and interest rates are calculated, how the stock market works, how to budget your time and money, how to organize, and how to fix basic items around your house. How is it that none of that is taught in school? My parents were terrible at budgeting and using money wisely, so I did not get a good foundation of knowledge as to how to navigate this economy. I'm nearing 30 and finally figuring things out, but if I had known a decade ago what I know now... My life, and my contribution to our economy and our society, would have been more wholesome.
Defining practical knowledge at a high school level can be tough, but expanding teaching on financial well being and sexual well being do need to be taught and promoted. Both of these are beneficial as my sister teaches at a high school level and often talks about the lack of finances and sexual well being taught.
In order to have a deep understanding about theory that students have learned, practicing these knowledge is required. It is obvious that students nowadays have to study a lot of theoretical subjects at school such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, ... And it seems too difficult to grasp all these knowledge without any practice, or experiments. Therefore, if schools pay more attention on practical knowledge, students would become more confident in applying all of what they've learned in the real world. Moreover, students could also find theoretical subjects more interesting, and hence a good study result would probably be seen.
I think elementary schools should for sure, but I think HS should become a dummied down trade school. This way HS dropouts(be it stupidity, family issues, natural disasters, etc.) will still have the skills to make it into at least an average job. <---- this would require a lot of effort, don't get me wrong, but I think by HS things broaden to have a few more technical school qualities. I am not saying make HS a technical school, just to have more classes to support those needs.
School should focus more on practical knowledge. Indeed, when we start to work, the only thing that can help us to understand what we have to do is practical knowledge. Theory can't be ignored because it's a base but it is not the most important.
And as Bruce Lee said "Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do."
When more and more students are loosing the ability to spell, add and use logic we need more and more now to educate them on practical applications. Most people's life problems start with the inability to properly inform themselves of the hurdles in life. People have adapted the notion that they just need street smarts rather than book smarts and forget that book smarts is what allows you to improve upon your life rather than detract from your life.
Schools should be focusing on practical knowledge because that is what is needed in the real world when you have a job. However, many of the theoretical aspects you learn, such as ones rooted in mathematics, are essential for understanding the underlying reason that things work the way they do. Therefore, the theoretical should not be ignored altogether, just simply not focused on as much as the practical.