Furious George

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2006
I think our current education system is a complete joke. I have rarely, if ever, used any knowledge from what I learned in Middle School, and so far through 3 years of High School, and have applied it in my daily life. [Excluding English and Social Studies related classes] I cannot remember the last time I needed Algebra. I cannot remember the last time I needed to know the molecular structure of Oxygen to aid me in my daily occurances. I cannont remember the last time Phys. Ed. showed any real improvement in my health.

The list goes on, and on.

Why not, instead of teaching kids things they will never use, let them MAJOR, just like you do in College? Kids today have NO idea what the hell they are going to do after High School, which oft turns them off from succeeding in life, since it's so damn expensive and complicated.

Teach kids things they will NEED. Like Balancing a checkbook or finances for one. What about Civic duties? We as Americans live in one of the greatest countries--why not teach all of our citizens how to vote, pay taxes, and abide by the law? Why not let the kids, who want to be engineers take the intensive math courses, and the kids who want to business owners, take a few classes in business management? Why not turn kids onto a future, rather than making success such an unattainable aspect of our culture? Now I'm no economics wiz, but I'm sure there are INUMERABLE advantages as an Economy, to have a mostly intellectual, and progressive population.

My point is; if you turn children off from success, don't be pissed when down the road they are asking for welfare. Not everyone has the drive in them to make a billion dollars a year, and this is a very real fact. If you eliminate the downsides of attaining said wealth, you have the possibility to eliminate poverty. Sure, there are some people who are naturally incompetent assholes, and would prefer to leach off of the system. But there are many people [My mother included] who HAD a future. She was an A student, who wanted to own her own store. She went to College, and after a year, she was fed up. She was overwhelmed, and totally unprepared, even after taking College-prep courses. So she dropped out, and currently today is working for a CPA, making a third of what she could of been making if she had completed four years in college.
A major difficulty is the size of the educational system, and its multi-staged process. One must pave the way for the next, and so changes should be co-ordinated. Given the size of the education systems, this is next to impossible.

Also, the demographic shifts in society such that now we pretty much EXPECT kids to go to college, and how this affects the job market and economic independence. It's a bloody long wonder kids can't see the point when they're being rail-roaded.

There is some value in being taught all those useless facts, but only if one knows just how to put them to use. This takes a maturity that adolescents, while they're being spoonfed, will not want to accept. The problem here is that teenagers probably wouldn't know what they want and it can be argued that they wouldn't be equipped to know what they want either. All the undergraduates in my course are pretty much the same way, and to find somebody with a specific goal (e.g something like "I want to branch off into neuropsychiatry and investigate the applicability of the chaos theory in philosophy of mind to invoke change in the fundamental underpinnings of the western patriarchal value system") is extremely rare because they simply keep changing their mind (because they have insufficient info). So on one hand you have a long route, and no certainty that one route is the right in secondary school you're given a general education in everything hoping something in particular takes your fancy!

After considering all the various factors that affect how one receives an education, I think the education system is faced with an insurmountable difficulty- how to cater to everybody with all their varied aims and different beliefs and how to essentially equip them to further progress or maintain society at whichever level. And how this changes over time, and how to convey an increasing knowledge base in minimal time...

I think if you let a kid major in high school, they're mostly going to flop around, miss the point. Only the best or the focused ones will actually get anywhere with that kinda system. And that outcome strikes me as being a bit unfair. But perhaps you're right- the balance of the education system is rather suspect and the system in most places need a comprehensive review.
I agree with some of what both of you said. A lot of the information we are taught in school will not help us in the real world. The reason we take these courses is because these are the intrest are governement wants us to have. Why did I take advance phsysics, and calcus because our governement is looking for engineers.

Look at the fact that they are continually stripping arts programs they are putting the money into the careers they want us to have.

I think one way to improve education for those of us who know what we want is charter schools. I for one have always know I wanted to be a writer if there had been a school of the arts near me I would have been there!
Running a country's economy involves managing the workforce, which unfortunately means job market and competition. That economics is king also applies to the individual. As a result, I doubt that many people actually have jobs that they want. Having schools that cater to the specialised wants of people would be rather nice...but unfortunately I doubt this is possible.
Indeed the United States is a service country built on supply and demand and nothing is ever going to change that because agriculture has been put to a minimum in this country.
Say what? Please, do go on. I haven't really thought about it that way before so I'm curious to see what you think minimising agriculture had to do with this.
I agree with the idea that a lot of what is taught in schools isn't used later in life, but I think these things are taught because they may be a foundation for something someone wants to pursue later on. For example, I don't ever use the Periodic Table in my daily life, but maybe a future chemist woulnd't have been inspired if they hadn't been exposed to it at one time or another in school.
I agree on some of your comment. Your right we don't use things that we are made to take sometimes in our everyday lives. But I think what they are trying to do is offer you a chance to see if you might like a certain area of study. Like chemsitry for example. I am sure that there are alot of kids that don't even no what this is all about. By touching on the subject you might find out that you reallly enjoy the class and would like to take more, which in turn could maybe lead you to major in colleage in this field if you were to go.'
So i agree with you in the respect that they also need to teach you things like financing, how not to ruin your credit, how to balance a checkbook along with some other things.
I was under the impression that this was, in some respects, being done. Well, in Australia at least.

A slightly related concern I have is with students who think they should dictate what they want to learn while learning a course. This is flawed as they simply lack the perspective, and so there is essentially a certain degree of faith that what's being taught will be appreciated at a later date when the faculties have been gained so that one might actually do something with what has been learnt.

From that, I've observed that alot of young people have counter-productive attitudes to their education not due to the education system themselves. Sure, the sheer length and size and the arbitrary nature of the education system can cause the feeling of purposelessness and drifting but nowadays this is a necessary evil such that our children won't run the world into the ground. The rest of it, I think, is that standardised rebel complex but if something is not done about it, ksome ids may grow up not realising where they may be mistaken, and will end up denying themselves the opportunity given to them.
These things ARE suppose to be taught in school today along with the physics, algebra, chemisty, biology, etc.

If you haven't used some aspect of these yet, give it time. You'll be amazed at all the highschool information you have to drum back up when you start a DIY project!
Ha, Kelkat, you are so right. When I first started cooking in earnest I was horrified by all the fractions I had to deal with.
I'll vouch for that too Kelkat- you've all seen even in my posts that I use knowledge I learnt from all those subjects I used to think were useless, like history and geography and latin. It CAN be useful, just depending on how ready and willing you are to use it!
I agree, I think just about everything you learn in school will come back to be useful. It's also very important to be well-rounded and know about more than just one or two things.
Dong, good point about Latin. Evne if it is a dead language it still pops up once in a while.