What are schools not telling us about life?

Cami Sunderlin

Remember when we thought schools were our main source of education? From the ages of five to 18, you spent most of your developmental years inside a classroom. There are numerous things that should be, however usually aren’t, shown in school. 

Some would say these things should be taught at home, to which I agree to an extent. However, they usually aren’t taught at home, either, in particular, kids who come from broken homes or where adults are too occupied to consider showing their kids and depend on the educational system for everything.

Back in middle school, I learned how to write a check from a checkbook in school, but what we did not learn is how to budget with our living expenses and needs. 

According to The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, “Americans have well over $3 trillion in total outstanding consumer debt.” All financial concepts should be taught in high school: compound interest, saving money, how to get credit or credit cards started, how to invest in stocks, mutual funds, real estate, how to avoid debt, how insurance and student loans work and the costs of taxes.

Money touches everything; your knowledge level when it comes to financial skills will impact your life and can decipher between prosperity or poverty.  

As Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” 

The educational system will, in general, discuss imagination or creativity like it’s an exceptional “extra,” if you will, thing that children do once in a while. This has eventually led to separations in creativity classes like art or music and academic classes like math or science. Teaching students to fully understand themselves could possibly be the most important thing we could be teaching.

“If we were initially taught to understand ourselves, and how we process what we learn, we could change society,” said Wyatt Whitehorn, class of 2023. 

I think the comprehension of various learning styles is expanding, although kids who learn at slower paces are still seen as “the problem child.” If kids comprehended the reason why they are learning slower, and more importantly, how they learn, it could make a huge difference. When you grow up, you start to realize the value of failing and making mistakes. 

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed  over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeeded.”

Most schools teach the value of education, talent, skill and hard work, but what about the importance of showing up? Children can have every one of the extraordinary thoughts on the planet, but if they don’t comprehend that achievement comes through persistence, they will stop trying before they hit the imprint.

Studies from the American Psychological Association are showing that kids are more stressed than they ever have been, and it’s getting worse. To add more to the fire, suicide rates for teens are soaring, up 70% for white children between ten and 17, and 77% for black children, according to the APA. Mental illnesses hit children before they even know what’s going on.

It should be a requirement for schools to teach more useful information rather than have children learn at home, because typically the issues begin at home. Learning to deal with anxiety and depression before it gets out of hand is important, especially at a young age. 

Unfortunately, some states, like Florida and Texas are voting to pass a new law where certain things pertaining to mental health, LGBTQ+, the educational system, and the criminal justice system, are being banned. According to edweek.org “the Heritage Foundation, recently attributed a whole host of issues to CRT, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ clubs in schools, diversity training in federal agencies and organizations, California’s recent ethnic studies model curriculum, the free-speech debate on college campuses, and alternatives to exclusionary discipline—such as the Promise program in Broward County, Fla., that some parents blame for the Parkland school shootings.” 

At the minimum, mental illnesses can easily lead to toxic relationships and abuse, whether that be in school or at home. Staff, parents and students should be taught the symptoms of mental illnesses and how to seek help. Teaching these things will ensure a safe, positive school environment, help promote social and emotional competence and build resilience. 

I think all of these points should be taught at home if the school system doesn’t teach them, but obviously, not every person is lucky enough for that to be an option. 

Numerous amounts of incredible teachers show these points, however sometimes teachers’ options are limited, and they are most of the time given an educational plan that leaves no additional room for real life knowledge. Maybe I’m wrong about some. But if I made you rethink the current construct of the classroom, I feel that I did my job.