On The Money
Financial Advice for the Working Class
As schools all over America hand out diplomas to this year’s crop of graduates, it behooves us to consider the rising cost of education, and ask ourselves if its still worth it. As a nation, we spend a lot on schools. Our recipe of making K-12 education “mandatory” and birth control “optional” insures that we will continue to spend money on schools for the foreseeable future.
But why? While the economy plows forward, our educational system remains bemired in the ideals of past centuries. What do “the three Rs” have to do with life in the information age? In these IMing, video conferencing, phone-centric times, we might as well teach our kids Latin and Morse code as waste their time with grammar and spelling.
Frankly, you can skip reading all together if you ask me. Look, if it was worth reading, somebody will make a movie. Most kids who read a lot, do so because of early childhood trauma, and they keep at it out of fear of bullying, usually ending up in thick glasses at an early age. So long as childhood remains traumatic, and full of bullies, some kids will read. While a first-class education system remains a pipe dream, a childhood full of trauma and bullies is a promise to our kids we can keep.
Do we need to teach arithmetic anymore, or shouldn’t we instead teach bar-code scanning techniques? Should we make children memorize the multiplication tables? Instead, I say, teach them to memorize a 13 digit number the first time they hear it.
What else do we teach in school? History? If kids ever figure this one out they’ll never forgive us. So, why help them? Science? People always argue about this. Some believe the Bible. Some believe Darwin. Choose your myth and sic your dogma on the school board. Do we really need to inflict this controversy on our kids? You dissected a frog in school. How much does that help you today?
What about Shop or Home-EC.? If you’ve got a shop, or a home, you’ve made it in today’s economy. We need to teach our kids how to live in their cars, or out of a backpack, if we want to prepare them for the real world.
As far as I can see, we only teach two valuable skills in today’s public schools:
How to “go through the motions” with as little effort as possible.
How to “self-medicate”
These skills helped us enormously back in the days when people had regular jobs. Back then, if you didn’t know how to shuffle through an eight-hour shift on auto-pilot, and drown the memory of it in alcohol, you’d probably go postal, eventually.
These days, jobs demand more of us, don’t last as long, and fewer of us have them. Better that kids get the hang of working back to back 24 hr shifts. If you must educate children, teach them a whole year’s curriculum in three months of 18 hr days. Then give them 9 mo off to forget everything they learned. That way their education will reflect the reality of the workplace.
If you really want to prepare them for the real world, charge them $1,000 to see the school nurse, plus $100 for the band-aid she put on a scraped knee, and let a collection agency hound them day and night for the money.
If our kids graduated from public school knowing how to scan bar codes, live comfortably in their car and avoid debt collectors, we would have successfully prepared them for life in our modern world. Instead we graduate class after class of dull-minded drunks, more well suited to an endless 9 to 5 grind that just doesn’t exist anymore.
Test scores and literacy rates be damned, if we’re going to pay for public schools, they should prepare students for the challenges of the real world, not blindly pursue some outdated, unobtainable ideal of a “classical education”. There’s a view of our public school system that”s On The Money