Education Today

I just spent the last 2.5 weeks at Vincennes University working with an early college readiness program. The students had a good time, for the most part, and seemed to get a lot of the experience.

I’ve spent the better part of a week trying to figure out why I agreed to work there in the first place. Then, I ran across this comment on Digg today that pretty much sums it up:

The school system is a joke.

I spent 12 years reading textbooks and taking tests and learned nothing about REAL WORLD problems and how to overcome them.

How to write a check. How to pay bills on time and why it’s important. How to buy a car. How to buy a house. How to NOT get into credit card debt. How to change a tire. How to fix household items. How to get a job. How to keep a job. Communication skills and why they’re important.

These are all skills I had to learn on my own, because in school I was too busy learning how to factor a polynomial and building bird houses.

Autoshop [sic] was OPTIONAL, and 2 years foreign language REQUIRED. It’s great that I can say “Good Morning” in Spanish, but I still have no idea how to change the oil in my car.

I’m home-schooling my kids.

I agree with most of this, but not all. I don’t think the school system is useful today. The students we worked with at VU were on the right track thanks to Ben Davis Univ. HS, Arsenal and Center Grove high schools. They get a HS Diploma and an Associate’s Degree from VU before they’re old enough to drink. Frankly, HS diplomas need to be abolished and Associate’s made the norm.

Some would argue that school “teaches people how to think”, but that’s what everyone says about college. So, that can’t be it.

I’m not sure knowing how to change the oil in your car is all that necessary. Even if I knew how to do it, I wouldn’t want to. And home-schooling should almost be put on-par with child abuse. You end up with too many kids incapable of socializing and functioning with everyone else.

But, they’re a lot of practical things in life that schools don’t teach well or at all. Like financial management, how to live with dignity, respect others, etc. Hopefully, these are all things I helped impart on the students at X-Mester.

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