By Kevin Pham
Many students are beginning to complete the last leg of their high school experience, many are barely starting, and many are standing at the epicenter. Although numerous students might have a plan of what they are going to do after graduation, most are denied the benefits of the necessary skills taught in life preparation classes. With school substituting life skills classes in favor of academic driven ones, the United States education system is ensnaring students all across America in a competence conundrum.
“I have been asking myself the ‘why’ question for so many years. Why don’t we teach these skills in our education system? cooking ? Or sewing? Or building things? Or changing a tire?,” states Dr. Carol Morgan, a professor at Wright State University.
There is such an extreme focus on training students how to be book-smart rather than surviving in the world outside of compulsory education.
“It’s assumed that children will learn all of this at home. On a job interview, they’re assessing your communication skills, not asking you to solve a calculus problem or about King Henry VIII,” writes Morgan.
Schools across America are not meeting the expectations of the work industry, even in something as simple as acquiring a new language. The pool of languages offered in public education is limited and the majority schools do not offer the full selection of choices that are outlined by the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
The California Department of Education reports that most public education institutions in our state do not offer English Sign Language (ESL) despite the fact that over 3 million California residents are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the Orange County Deaf Equal Access Foundation.
“Languages are not a side dish that’s extra, but it’s a side dish that compliments other skills,” states Language-policy analyst Rachel Hanson. “But students, are often discouraged from language courses because of stringent requirements in another subject matter.”
Therefore, one must combat the restrictive confinements of a typical, meticulously planned out K-12 education. According to the Washington Post in January 2013, we need to start establishing a foundation while the minds of students are more elastic. The United States education system should strive to include more classes that require the use of practical life skills and hands-on techniques into standard K-12 requirements.
CEO of Launch Industries, Geoff Pilkington, writes in his article, “The 12 Important Life Skills I Wish I’d Learned In School,” that the three most important things a high school education did not teach him was how to save money, the importance of mental health, and the inner workings of a relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic. Through his article, Pilkington reveals how much more difficult it was to learn these skills while moving through the real world.
There seems be a disconnect between curriculum and society. While curriculum does attempt to incorporate modern skills into classrooms, it falls short on recognizing that there is no syllabus to society.