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Should public high schools start to focus more on teaching practical skill sets, such as balancing checkbooks and investing, versus subjects such as American history and art?

Should public high schools start to focus more on teaching practical skill sets, such as balancing checkbooks and investing, versus subjects such as American history and art?
  • Yes because real life skills get you farther then knowledge skills

    If you know alot about certain areas or subjects that is a good skill to have but if you don't know the proper skills like how to prove yourself to an employer or how to make a first impression your screwed. The real world is all about making yourself look good with the people you work with and you cant do that if you don't have the necessary skills

  • I say we should

    I agree we need to teach more life skills to students. Today there are many kids who don't know how to write a check and don't know what they want to do career wise because they have no experience with anything other then the classes they take. Most students do not know what they want to be after school ends until after their sophomore year in college. This is crazy. We spend years repeating the same information over and over when we never remember half of it after the class ends anyway. In high school I had no idea what I wanted to be nor do I remember what I learned in pretty much every class I have ever taken. Now I know that I want to be a preschool teacher and I am taking classes to become a preschool teacher but I find I am taking classes that do not teach me anything I can use in being a preschool teacher. I am currently taking a class of Art and Culture tell me what 5 year old wants to learn about medieval art and the effects it had on future art.

  • Logic is the key.

    I believe that schools can only TEST the students on subjects that are objective and require thinking. Since there are computers and the internet, information is cheap and easy to access. This means that memorization of a subject on a test should be very small relative to the analytical thinking part of the test, because in the real world you do not need to know what a simile is or the exact date of the American revolution because you just look it up. Subjects like math and science require a lot of thinking compared to a whole lot of other subjects like art, history, language arts, and Spanish. Also, subjects like art, history, language arts, and foreign languages do not help out in the world like math and science. You may disagree, but art does not help in food production or clean water as well including the other subjects that I claim do not help the world. I am not saying that subjects like foreign languages should be taken out of schooling, but that the subjects like that should not be mandatory. The subjects that I want mandatory in schools are subjects like Math, Science and English. I want English (reading, writing, and spelling) to be mandatory until a certain grade before high school. The reasons for this is because I want the people of the populace to be literate and be able to read, but once you are in high school you should know how to read and write and should focus more on mathematics and science; which are the most important subjects to know because they help produce food, clean water, buildings, drugs, weapons, and much more. You may say that subjects like history, language arts, and music help the world, but only spiritually. I am not saying that I do not like those subjects, I listen to music all the time, but that artistic subjects do not run the world, needs like water and food do. Tell me when GM food has been produced by painting or memorizing the exact date that Elvis Presley got married!? The subjects that the modern world runs on should be the subjects in the school system that are mandatory like math, science, and the international business language known as English. I also believe that test should be checked more to make sure that the multiple choice questions have the correct answer be objective. If the correct answer to the question is subjective then the test will have an inaccurate score.

  • Yes.

    Yes because I am a student myself, and I don't understand anything my parents are doing with bills, taxes, money, car payments, house payment and so on. I would love to see a class where we all sit there with checkbooks and have a setup like real life and at the end of each month we have bills for our "house." This would help me later in life even when you get your first car, because of today's economy your parents can't really pay insurance, you eventually will. So how about classes are based on real life situations (buying cars ,buying houses, buying food, balancing your checkbook, bank management, money management, etc.). I personally as a student would enjoy a class like this because it will prepare me for being dependent later on in life. I'm only in 8th grade but I still believe we need this kind of class. I know we have many other places (internet) to learn those things but, I would want to physically learn it in school with the same materials as I would in life. We could handle fake money as we would real, and we would have a bank in class, etc. Just basically having the same reality as you would in the real world and society.

  • Real World Problems

    Since graduating from high school, I can literally count the times I've actually used algebra and geometry in my day-to-day tasks. I can tell you that, as it stands, I work a decent job and I get paid more than most kids my age, and it isn't based on most of the things I learned in high school. Let me break this down for just a moment:
    Schools with little education funds tend to stick to a very tight curriculum. Teachers very rarely deviated from what they were told to teach. Now, this doesn't mean they weren't doing their jobs right. The fault was in their books. I can tell you with absolute confidence that taking English classes allowed me to adapt my thoughts and emotions into words and express them intelligently and fluidly. Taking a Theater class every year has given me the ability to deal with everyday situations from a vast array of people who walk into my life whether it be at work or at home. It allowed room for me to learn to be comfortable with myself and with others. Even classes like American history taught me more about politics than I ever could have hoped to learn on my own, and taught me a great deal about society and the changes that have taken place. Physical Education taught me to take care of myself and how to do it the right way. Even drivers education granted me with the tools to obtain my license.
    The reason I voted yes on this was not because of these things listed above. It is because of my numerous math, and science classes. Not only was I forced to sit in an environment where I did not understand what was being taught to me, but I was belittled by both my counselors and peers for not being able to pass these classes. I was told that I would not graduate from high school if I could not obtain a high enough grade in math. To this day, though, I have never used anything but the basic tools taught to me in elementary school to live my life. I do not know how to balance a checkbook, however. I do not know how to file my taxes. I only recently learned out to write out a check and work through the debts gathered on my first credit card. These are the tools that I wish they had offered in math class. These are the things that I wish they had taken the time to teach. I could easily say that I can solve the square root of x in an equation. This might even be useful information, but they never taught me when.
    History and art do not need to be removed from the curriculum. Math and science need to be updated to apply to real life skills or else our generation and every generation to come will struggle with tasks that are meant for day-to-day activity.

  • Absolutely! So important

    Preparing for life should be a major focus in schools because when real life situations occur it will have nothing to do with Shakespeare, trigonometry or literature. Learning about finances, loans, buying things like cars or a house is something that should be explained. I'm graduated 15 yrs ago but I do not know the first thing about buying a house such as finances, interest rates, insurance, all those things you need to know in order to live a normal life..

  • Well, they aren't being taught at home

    The life skills that people use to survive in the real world are not being taught to this younger generation. Partly because they don't want to learn about them, but also because the parents of this generation would rather do things for their kids, than the other way around. The kids have their parents wrapped around their fingers. And that's not good, because they just get to be so spoiled they can't do anything. And you have limitations, and most of the limitations a person has are the ones that they put on themselves. And a person can unknowingly put limitations on themselves from what they've been taught -or what they haven't been taught. And these kids need to learn how to grow up, because most of them are too lazy to do it themselves.

  • Prepare them for the real world.

    In mathematics specifically, learning the area of a parallelogram or figuring out the value of x is not a situation that will ever arise in a person's life, unless their employment field is specifically related to it ( which most are not). Teach practically and they will be successful people.

  • Preparing students to lead us to a better future

    Schools should teach life skills such as caring for a home, interview skills, caring for pets, maintaining a car, balancing a budget, education on credit, and so forth. On a day to day basis, this is what we all deal with. Everything else is just a specialty and would be covered in college more than likely.

  • Yes, because life is more important than art.

    I would rather have known how to LIVE than how to dissect a frog, draw a picture, or know about crap that happened hundreds of years ago and has no real importance to what I am doing now. Sure that stuff prepares us for college, but what about the people that don't go to college?

  • Just another unnecessary class

    There's a name that should be used for classes like P.E., Art, Choir, Band, and practical skills. They should be called electives. They are obviously useful skills, but you don't NEED to take a class on it to graduate. People don't realize that the main goal of high school is to prepare students for college. American History is important because it educates you on politics. Math and science are important, and foreign languages can be important. Art serves no advantage for college. Neither does balancing checkbooks and investing (but they can). That's why they should be electives.

  • No. Traditional subjects should be taught.

    Because just like math, art is a practical subject to learn. It is used in all aspects of life. History is also important because, how can we know our heritage if we know not of our history? Both art, and history alike are very good things to know, but we are removing this form of learning if we deny children the chance to learn about it.

  • That's what parents should do.

    School should only be for giving facts to children and teenagers and letting them decide. The education system is corrupt though. I think children need to be given more freedom and family time rather than having to go to school every day and school being the primary part of the day. Kids need to learn from parents, not the state. Much of what we learn at school isn't even needed as we head into the future. Yes, children need to learn life skills but it shouldn't be put into schools.

  • No and Yes, The question is not presented properly.

    The question should really be asked in a different way. Why is there no second option or a combination of the two? You are given a one or the other scenario. The world doesn’t work this way. I won't suggest a proper way to phrase the question, but I hope you can see why I have come to this conclusion. Personally, I really think we have our teaching curriculum way out of sync. Why are we teaching children who have little concept of government or care for American history at the ages we do? Why have accounting classes gone out of existence? If the schools can’t teach our children these basic things, or figure out a way to evolve with them… i.e. Digital technology. What use are they? Now they want mandatory pre-school, give me a break, seriously. Children have access to more knowledge that any school can ever dream of offering, the internet. If the education system doesn’t eventually catch up with the 21st century, it may find itself extinct. Remember is started with a book, blackboard and chalk over 100 years ago… It’s greatest innovation to date is the change to a whiteboard and marker. If a family has access to all of the world’s knowledge through a practically free system (cost of a PC and internet) Ask yourself this question, what stops them from just abandoning the public education system all together? I’d imagine only specialty schools would survive.

  • No, because there is no excuse for not teaching all of it, with an equal focus on all of it.

    There is no reason why the schools cannot teach all of these subjects. For one, American history should be one of the first things to be taught. Every kid in this country needs to know the history of where this great nation got its start. We always should teach our heritage. It just gets under my skin to think that people are actually thinking about not teaching our children about the history of this country. And we wonder why we have children acting out and doing dumb things, like bringing guns and knifes to school. Maybe because they do not have any sense of well-being or any type of American pride.

    Posted by: SlipArnal
  • Balancing checkbooks and investing are important skills that should be taught alongside other important subjects like history and art.

    Balancing checkbooks and investing are important skills that should be taught alongside other important subjects like history and art. These skills complement knowledge students acquire in fundamental classes like American History and Art. We cannot sacrifice a child's education by cutting programs that provide students vital knowledge and skills. Children who cannot converse about history become uninformed and apathetic adult voters.

    Posted by: NatBIab
  • I do not think that practical skill sets should replace subjects such as art and history in schools, because our country has too little "cultural capital" as it is.

    I read an article recently which spoke of "cultural capital," or a wealth of knowledge and appreciation for things which are not practical life skills, but encourage imagination. I teach theater, and I am appalled at my students' fixation on verisimilitude. They equate "non-realism" in film or theater with looking "fake." Artistic choices on the part of the playwright or director are criticized as not being an accurate presentation of reality. To me, this points to a dismissal of any art that does not duplicate the world around them-- an excessively pragmatist outlook like one sees in novels like "Fahrenheit 451." I think that our students do need to learn practical skills, but not at the expense of their already dwindling imaginations -- our "cultural capital."

    Posted by: Shim2free
  • Art and Music classes ARE practical

    Education is already infamous for (as a friend of mine put it) " Slowly and painfully murdering a child's creativity, and not getting children properly engaged in a subject." First of all, Art and Music classes ARE practical classes. The U.S. Is the number one country for creative ideas, and Art and Music classes are the only things that are keeping our students creativity alive, because all the other classes (for most students) are very boring and unengaging. Also, Art an Music classes make children want to go to school. I remember my freshman year, the only class I liked was Music appreciation. Finally, many students will have a job related to Art and Music, I am currently a composer for the London philharmonic, and I would have never have this job if not for the music appreciation class I took as a freshman.

  • Schools should not be teaching this.

    It is the parents job to teach their children about everyday life. Kids go to school to study history, math, and science. Parents don't pay for the child to go to school and learn something that can be taught at home. People wonder why America does not have high grades compared to other countries. If you want your child to learn how to invest or balance checkbooks from another person, have them go some place else other than school to learn.


  • Students should be well-rounded.

    Students should continue to be taught the traditional subjects as well as being introduced new subjects such as consumer math. As the world continues to change, our education system should change with it, but should not forget the important things of the past. Without American History, important lessons of the past will not be passed down. Also, subjects such as art encourage personal expression. Although equally important, focusing merely on technological advances will turn us all into robots.


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perla says2013-05-24T00:34:38.733
Good grades in, for example, american history, do not provide students with necessary skills in life. In the future, the student may not know how to deal with financial matter and end up in huge dept. With a life skills class, students could learn things such as social skills, basic workplace skills, financial skills, street smarts, and many more.