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why aren't the basics taught?

in the standard k-12 education system it seems that we are neglecting the basics. for example when I went through high school no class was taught about filing taxes actually keeping a budget, no class was taught on basic interpersonal communication, no class was taught on personal behavioral management, and lets face it, our american sex ed is a joke. Instead we seem focused on things like endlessly studying the classics which are far from relevant now. we are drilling highminded ideas instead of basic human cooperation.
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If you want to know how to keep a budget, go to DaveRamsey.com. You can learn from him for free how to keep a budget! Jane Hernandez

I think it is necessary to qualify teachers to understand the psychological needs of students and also to understand the best way of how to teach instead of the routine method in the classroom to get our generation out of the bondage of laws and regulations to freedom of thought and awareness of responsibility towards the family and society Maher Areda

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Shareen’s Answer

Its unfortunate but change is scary to many because of the effort involved. Additionally, being able to admit that society has evolved and the way we are teaching children today isn't sufficient can be equally difficult to admit. I will say for that I had some classes growing up that did go into some life skills training such as Home Economics (cooking, sewing, etc), we learned to manage a budget and balance a checkbook, etc

Shareen recommends the following next steps:

User free learning tools online, talk with adults you trust, gain as much real life knowledge as you can.
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Dr. Fonda’s Answer

The basics are taught in some schools that have Family and Consumer Science teachers or Career and Technology teachers. They are electives in some schools that are not required

Dr. Fonda recommends the following next steps:

Many schools lack funds to hire these types of teachers, so they only hire teachers who teach English, Math, Science, History, and other required classes. Talking to the administrators at the school about offering these classes is a first step.
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If the administrators aren’t interested in helping, you can contact the school board. If you have enough people interested to go with you it helps add pressure to get what you want accomplished.
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Thank you for supporting Career and Technical Education. Ellen Harrison

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Roger’s Answer

It’s true that K-12 ignores a lot of what students need to know. This is especially true about money, credit, and basic banking skills. Even when I started college, many of my fellow students had no idea how checks work. And that was years ago. There’s so much more to know today. It’s appalling.

Roger recommends the following next steps:

Ask your school if maybe it could provide a little of this, in social studies.
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Virginia’s Answer

This is not the choice of teachers. The federal government began to link funding of schools to testing. The Education Department then approves tests put forth by the states to meet this requirement. States also began to rank schools based on the tests. The tests did not contain these basics. So teachers have to spend their time teaching to these tests. The original goal of the tests seemed focused only on making sure all were ready for college.
Citizens, parents,students, and teachers, need to complain to the government.
I challenge the answer that says the basics aren't being effectively taught, as I would challenge many basic skills aren't being taught at all. Teachers must teach what they are told to teach. If the basic skill is not in the curriculum, it can't be taught effectively, as the time can't be given to it. Teachers work hard.
Do not be discouraged, though, because you live in a world in which information and help are at your finger tips. Seek the skills you want, practice, seeks answers to your questions, and you will succeed.

Virginia recommends the following next steps:

Go to Next Gen Personal Finance for free lessons on banking skills. Or Discover magazine's tips on managing a checking account. https://www.discover.com/online-banking/banking-topics/6-tips-for-managing-a-checking-account-in-college/
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Jessica’s Answer

The focus is more on content and imparting the book knowledge rather than practical importance or giving daily life examples

Jessica recommends the following next steps:

Demonstrate some practicality and importance of content rather than just saying
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Kim’s Answer

Many have mentioned this, but I'll put my two cents in. We teach what we are told to teach, so people can contact the state and federal education organizations to get that changed. Several of the skills you mentioned are taught in a variety of classes, but those classes aren't required.
Some of those skills are taught by parents in some families.
The good news is, you can go on the internet and find help with taxes, banking, etc.

My question to the group is, why do people think that school is responsible for teaching things outside of math, english/grammar, science and history? When did society start depending on teachers to do these things? Its a serious question, because there are parents that absolutely don't want teachers doing anything outside of academic content. Then there are parents that hope we will teach so much more than academics. So where did this idea come from, and where do we draw the line?

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Karla’s Answer

Hello Daniel and hundreds that also wonder why basic life skills aren't taught in school. Unfortunately this is done purposely to keep a permanent underclass. We can rise above this and make changes by doing what you did, question status quo. From over half a century of experience on this earth, several college degrees, being an African American female and mother, I believe schools are utilized to socialize Americans in the direction the government & general society desires. As Americans become more educated and aware of their power to advocate for what's more important to them in school curriculum, to support what many parents teach at home, schools will become more relevant.

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Ellen’s Answer

Hello! As a middle school business computer science teacher, I deliver fundamental marketing, advertising, banking, insurance and budgeting lessons, hands-on, using spreadsheets and math. We examine balancing checkbooks, and paycheck deductions. I have always hoped that I could reach high school students with this information, and our district is making a semester-long financial management class required for graduation this year, 2019.
Most formal education focuses on creating life-long learners, so that individuals understand how to located necessary information, how to digest it, and how to apply it in real life -- for as fast as this world is changing, we are always preparing students for the unknown! My own father died in 1971, but as a librarian, he indicated to me that one day, computers would bring us everything we need to know, if we just key into a computer the very topic we hope to learn about.
One source for financial information is an online course, EverFi, managed by Mass Mutual and the Federal Reserve. I am not sure of your age, but there are levels.
American education is complex, governed by federal and state budgets -- and by community norms. I hope you will find it within yourself to seek appropriate sources for the information you seek, and be skeptical about advertisements, as compared to factual information. Good luck in your pursuits!

Ellen recommends the following next steps:

https://everfi.com/courses/sponsor-everfi/ Create a login account and begin learning.
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https://www.getrealeducation.org Might start reviewing teacher resources
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Google "free courses" in any topic about which you are curious, and look for school affiliations!
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Heather’s Answer

I think you're a bit confused about the role of high school and high school educators. High school lasts, over the course of 4 years, less than 800 days. To imagine that a school, with hundreds if not thousands of students of varying academic abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, languages, and will take them all and not only prepare them in that short amount of time to obtain more education or training and also for everything they may encounter in their adult life is absurd. They will focus on academics because that's what most students will immediately need. Teachers are not your parents. Especially in this day and age when information is available at the drop of a hat, to complain of not knowing how to do something seems a personal problem. People love to moan that school didn't teach them taxes, but do you know when taxes are due? Do you know how to get a form? Can you articulate what you don't understand about the process and search for ways to answer your questions? Were you able to come here and form a complaint about this? Then your school has likely done fine and your time would be better served doing a simple search on youtube for tax tutorial instead of pouting about not being taught something that is on no school curriculum because there simply isn't time and other things are much more important for a student about to enter college or career training. An 18 year old will never be fully prepared for the world they enter after school. They will always not know things. They will have many things to figure out on their own. That's the point of being a young adult. It is no one's job to only spit you out into the world once you feel you understand every single thing about it. Furthermore, the teachers do teach you the basics, and some of the things you're complaining about you have been taught. You were taught interpersonal communication, if not explicitly, but sometimes very much so. Did your kindergarten teacher tell you to share, or to apologize when you hurt a friend? That's interpersonal communication, taught to you point by point in the way you learned to read. Did you ever go to a teacher after an argument with a friend on the playground and have them help you solve it? Did you have group work as you older? Play a sport or a musical instrument in a band? Were you in a club? Interpersonal communication. As for the classics, they are taught because they have things to teach us, because they expand students' thinking and vocabulary. We can only apologize for wanting you to be able to read a challenging text.

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Debbie’s Answer

Common Core State Standards necessitate real life scenarios as part of the curriculum. The public schools are now mandated to make relevant and cognizant the realities by integrating real world skills in their curriculum. For instance learning to read a graph is related to learning to read tax brackets. Learning to balance your checkbook is related to integers (positive and negative numbers). There will always be a need for the classics in the humanities because a society that has no perspective on where it’s been cannot hope to have a vision of the future.

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Jane’s Answer

Basics are being taught. You learned to read, didn't you? You learned to write and do basic math. Perhaps the basics should be expanded to include filing taxes, keeping a budget, basic interpersonal communication, etc. However, most high school students don't need to file taxes, for example, or keep a budget. My father taught me to file taxes because I worked part time my last two years of high school, but it seems to me , very few high school students have any opportunity for a paying work experience. Budgeting would, in my opinion, be very useful. But someone has to move the powers that be for such policy changes to take place. Just last night I heard that our President wants to start technical and trade training at the high school level. If students want to pursue academics, they should be free to do so. If they want to pursue technical or trade training, which would be a more direct path to employment, they should be free to do so.

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Michaelq’s Answer

Daniel: You ask a great question, one that has reverberating consequences throughout our public education system.

The system teaches kids what the system believes they need to know, rather that tailoring the curriculum to the needs and interests of individual students. This is a mistake. Sure, it's efficient. It's convenient and it's easy to manage. However, a standardized (one-size-fits-all) approach does more to aglient students, rather than to motivate them. The classics are wonderful. (I was a product of studying the classics.) But, do they teach you what you need, and want, to know based on your circumstanes and your aspirations?

If your answer is "no," I suggest the following. Go to a trusted teacher, counselor or administrator with this simple, and appropriate, request. "I want to to learn about personal finance, or realistic education regarding safe sexual practices, or (you fill in your specific interest.) What classs should I take, where do I go within our educational system to learn these things?"

You must ask. And, you must demand a relevant response. Otherwise, our system has let you down.

Be strong.

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Mike’s Answer

It is troubling to hear such a consensus that basic educational skills are not being effectively taught. I raised my children in a very accomplished school district, where there were a few distractions from other students or difficult home situations that needed to be dealt with. I know that it is very hard for students to concentrate when They are surrounded by chaos or are unable to arrive at school ready to learn. For those who have a true hunger to learn and succeed in their careers, additional guidance from outside sources can surely be very helpful.

Your efforts to provide this to students is indeed a noble cause. Whatever help I can lend it to your efforts will be gladly volunteered

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Maria’s Answer

I believe the ‘basics ‘ have shifted many of the skills you seek would have been taught at home through parents but since both parents have to work the familial interaction has changed. Discussion groups formed with peers and teachers/ counselors can help and perhaps voicing your needs to a pta group



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Carol’s Answer

The basics aren’t taught because the teacher does not know where the student is located (coming from) in the world of learning. EXAMPLE: You’re a new student in the neighborhood. You don’t know anyone, no friends, no family, no neighbors! You show up in class and your teacher believes your head is on empty. All that is needed is to open your mind and pour in knowledge! Like milk in a glass! No way! That’s exactly not teaching! Teaching is communication between trusted humans! Without that, the knowledge of the teacher and the mind of the student will never meet up!! That’s the basics!!

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Manoj’s Answer

Care should be taken in the education of children, what are the requirements of children, each child has the ability to get different, for that it is necessary to understand the mental abilities of the child.


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Ashley’s Answer

Our current education system focuses on rote memorization and is structured solely around standardized testing.
Unfortunately, it fails to look at the whole student. These tests are only a snapshot in time, and indeed do not prepare our youth for basic life skills.

Reading and self educating is a great way to make up for this gap. Reaching out to elders and asking for advice is also great if you have access to someone who can assist you.

I see a lot of people saying this was taught at their school. If schools have the funding, I’m sure they set aside time for it.
Having worked in the inner city for 4 years I noticed majority of the schools here do not. In fact, many students are below reading level for their grade. This is a huge problem. How can we expect students to self teach, if it’s difficult to comprehend the content?

Someone also mentioned that change is scary. I agree. There are amazing best practices out there that would revamp the whole education system as we know it. But they are being ignored by policy makers and government officials who are unlikely to have prior education experience. Teachers know what to do. Let them teach and advocate for the changes they need.

Ashley recommends the following next steps:

Research independently
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Ask a trusted adult for assistance
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Study policy and law. Make a change.
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Advocate for policies. Make a change.
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