I can solve for X but I can’t do my taxes: on what we learn in school vs. what we SHOULD learn in school.

It’s tax day today, which means over the past few weeks I’ve been gathering all of my papers up to send to my tax person, because at the ripe age of 41, I still don’t know how to do this myself. So I chuckled to myself when a friend shared this tweet today:



It’s gotten me thinking about about how odd some of our priorities are in terms of education in this country. Why doesn’t everyone learn to do taxes in high school? Why do I know how to solve a quadratic equations while a 1040 Form stumps me completely?

It got me thinking about how I would prioritize education in this country, if it were up to me. (Which it’s not, thank God.) But here’s my humble opinion of what should stay and what should go:

No more math beyond 8th grade math. Truly, I don’t understand the point. Sure, some people may end up in careers requiring advanced math. But some of us end up in careers requiring intricate knowledge of facebook’s algorithims, and we figured it out after high school. I truly don’t see the point of Geometry or Algebra 2 for the general population. I am a professional with a Master’s degree and my biggest math challenege each week is paying my babysitter. So why did I waste all that time on it in school? Sure, offer it. But let it be an elective for those interested in pursuing careers that require it.

Goodbye chemistry, hello coding. I committed the periodic table of elements to memory and I have used it never. You know what I could use? Some basic HTML skills. Eventually, most kids are going to use a computer, and it would be nice to have some basic coding skills.

Everyone takes Spanish in every grade. Especially Californians. Why wouldn’t we want to give our kids the gift of being bilingual? This is more important than knowing the Axis of Symmetry of a Parabola.

Teach kids basic business skills. At some point, I think every high school student should have a basic business class that introduces them to the concepts of running a business. But more important than that . . .

Teach kids how to balance a checkbook, do their own taxes, and other important life skills. It’s kind of insane that we require intimate knowledge of fractions and chemical equations but a kid can graduate into adult life without a class in budgeting or basic life skills.

I’d love to see all kids have to learn basic music notation as well, but I do realize that’s more personal preference than actual required skill of living.

What about you . . . what would you remove from the current standard cirriculum, and what would you add?



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