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Thread: Most Important Things They Never Taught In School

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    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Most Important Things They Never Taught In School

    There are many things I've learned that were never taught in school, but I wish had been. Here are four biggies that to me, should have been covered.

    1. Cardinal Directions: I went to suburban schools well outside of any real urban street grid, so I never learned how to tell what's east and west, and north and south by knowing the directions in relationship to the sun until about age 17. Perhaps if I'd gone to school in a big city I would have learned this quicker because cities are usually based on an equator and meridian. I think if all kids were taught this in first grade, their long range thinking might develop quicker. Failure to understand the relation of places to each other in 3 dimensional space kind of hinders your ability to make efficient use of your time.

    2. Social Security Numbers: These are less for helping you, and more about protecting society from you, in case you turn out to be a freak. Big brother makes sure that everything you ever do of an economic or legal nature, is connected to your S.S.#.

    3. Sex And Money: How much money a man makes/has is more important to a woman, than how much money a woman makes/has is to a man. Fortunately, this isn't as true as it used to be, but because of women's limited reproductive timeframe, and limited earning power during pregnancy, having money is still more of an expectation for men than it is for women. And because of hormones like estrogen, women are generally more attractive than men, so it's kind of like, "What are you going to do for me, in exchange for my granting you the privilege of letting you have sex with me?"

    To this expectation, I say, "I don't need to spend my life being a breadwinner, because I don't view women as baby factories." And BTW, I'm all for women making equal pay for equal work. As the % of females who participate in the labor force gets closer and closer to that of males, this should become more of an historical footnote - I hope.

    4. The World of Work: You are assumed to be worthless until you prove otherwise.

    Obviously, these are partially matters of opinion so I couldn't really have expected school to teach me these things, except for cardinal directions which seem so fundamental to me.

    But I'm curious to know what others deem to be the most important lessons, facts/data, attitudes, morals they've ever learned but were never taught in school. Hopefully we can all learn something from each other.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
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    Can I change No.1 to Teach my girlfriend the cardinal directions? Sound of a drum roll.

    The one thing I wish I was told in school is that when you leave and go away from school people (society at large) generally become nicer human beings. School breeds imbecilic behaviour which is usually scalped to the quick when displayed outside of a secondary school environment. The fact that your peers dealt with you on an adult level was the most pleasant surprise I received upon leaving school.

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Money Management should be on the top of the list. Our primary and secondary schools in the US are woefully lacking in this kind of training/education.

    Maybe your school, dobopoq, was sucky, because I learned about cardinal directions early. But maybe I have an affinity for it. My wife is very intelligent, but she can get turned around very easily.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Money Management should be on the top of the list. Our primary and secondary schools in the US are woefully lacking in this kind of training/education.
    Ditto on budgeting/saving/investing - but I have heard this is changing.
    Oddball
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Money Management should be on the top of the list. Our primary and secondary schools in the US are woefully lacking in this kind of training/education.

    Maybe your school, dobopoq, was sucky, because I learned about cardinal directions early. But maybe I have an affinity for it. My wife is very intelligent, but she can get turned around very easily.
    I think I was born with good directions. My sister, however, is horrible.

    I agree about the money management issue. I took accounting as an elective, but that didn't really touch on credit, interest, etc.

  6. #6
    Public education in this country, it seems to me, presumes that every child knows how to think. I disagree. Schools do a woeful job, particularly in the early grades, of teaching children to think, to question, to posit answers.

    My son learned cardinal directions in the first grade and uses it quite frequently.

    I agree with money management skills.
    Je suis Charlie

  7. #7

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    I agree with the money management skills. That needs to be a focus in the middle school and high school years.

    I learned the cardinal directions in social studies in the second and third grades. I loved social studies, which made it easier to learn and attracted me to planning.

    As far as critical thinking, that doesn't generally happen until the last two years of high school and then into college. Once I had teachers who asked me what I thought about something, and I realized there was no "wrong" answer as long as my answer was well-thought-out, school became much easier.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Public education in this country, it seems to me, presumes that every child knows how to think. I disagree. Schools do a woeful job, particularly in the early grades, of teaching children to think, to question, to posit answers.
    Excellent point. Schools don't teach you HOW to study. Once our older kids reached the point where they were challenged, they did not have a clue where to find the answer or directions on how to do the problems. I don't know how many times they would bring a worksheet home and not the text book. And why on earth would they show their work on a math problem?

    Their study skills consisted of reading the review sheet. (Which in most cases was sufficient because it was the test questions to the letter ) They thought I was crazy when I had them rewrite their notes and reread their chapters.

    MZ has the best solution by homeschooling. We seem to do both, after the public school fails to teach our kids, we homeschool them up to speed. I feel a long rant building that will veer off topic from the original question so I will stop now.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq
    There are many things I've learned that were never taught in school, but I wish had been. Here are four biggies that to me, should have been covered.

    3. Sex And Money: How much money a man makes/has is more important to a woman, than how much money a woman makes/has is to a man. Fortunately, this isn't as true as it used to be, but because of women's limited reproductive timeframe, and limited earning power during pregnancy, having money is still more of an expectation for men than it is for women. And because of hormones like estrogen, women are generally more attractive than men, so it's kind of like, "What are you going to do for me, in exchange for my granting you the privilege of letting you have sex with me?"
    Not in my world. I can think of maybe one friend my age who thinks what a man makes is important. And none of us are trading sex for it. You must know some real bimbos.

    As for what kids need to learn in school: I agree with money management, but also how to apply for a job, how to keep a job, how to write a resume, how to speak coherent English, and requiring a second language (and being able to speak it, too).

  10. #10
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Money Management should be on the top of the list. Our primary and secondary schools in the US are woefully lacking in this kind of training/education.
    I don't know... I think it's a bit presumptuous to think they'll even have money to manage when so many students graduate from high schools despite being practically illiterate.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    I really could've used a money management class

    I think the most helpful class I took in highschool was Typing.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    A course in basic automotive repair/maintanance would have been useful. They teach us how to sew and how to cook, it seems in today's society automive repair would be just as useful as a skill. I have no intention of sewing my own clothes. Except for basic repairs and mending people who sew do it as a hobby. After you figure in time, equipment, and material I don't think you are going to come out ahead. Seeing as though labor is a small cost of the production of clothes subsituting your own labor isn't going to be economical.

    Automotive repair on the other hand requires very exspensive labor and thus substituting your own labor would seem to come out to be economical. Also, knowledge of automotive mechanics can be useful when you break down on the side of the road and have no access to a mechanic.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Job hunting skills, resume writing, etc. Would have been useful but perhaps isn't best taught in high school. I did write a resume in high school but never had the need for it and now that I am finished with college have had to figure it out on my own. My college did have a career development center but I never really took advantage of it as my intention in college was to go onto graduate school after taking a year or two off. While I still intend to attend grad school I would like to do something in the meantime other than work at a grocery store for minimum wage.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    I don't know... I think it's a bit presumptuous to think they'll even have money to manage when so many students graduate from high schools despite being practically illiterate.
    That's why it is even more important to be able to manage what money they do have.

    I have a *big* problem with the seniors in high school being practically illiterate. How did they get so far? The schools have completely failed these kids.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq
    3. Sex And Money: How much money a man makes/has is more important to a woman, than how much money a woman makes/has is to a man. Fortunately, this isn't as true as it used to be, but because of women's limited reproductive timeframe, and limited earning power during pregnancy, having money is still more of an expectation for men than it is for women. And because of hormones like estrogen, women are generally more attractive than men, so it's kind of like, "What are you going to do for me, in exchange for my granting you the privilege of letting you have sex with me?"

    .
    I don't think that is generally true anymore. It probably was at one point - but that would have likely been due to the fact that women were not accepted in the workplace and were expected to stay home. So it would have been more of an impact from scoiety's substandard treatment of women than anything else. With the general acceptance of equal rights and (somewhat) equal pay I don't think this is true anymore.

    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    I don't know... I think it's a bit presumptuous to think they'll even have money to manage when so many students graduate from high schools despite being practically illiterate.
    I don't think that's really the case. Practically illiterate means someone who basically can not even read a newspaper. I don't know anyone who graduated high school who meets that definition. There might be a few here or there but I doubt that there are "many students" like that.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 04 Oct 2005 at 12:16 PM.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    As it has been said several times above:

    Financial Education. How to spend less than you make and how to control where your money goes.
    Trusting a DC politician with your money is like trusting a hungry dog with a raw steak.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    What about coping skills? Did anyone ever go to a school that trained you how to deal appropriately with life's disappointments? I think most of us learned that one by ourselves. Unless you had religion or really smart and tolerant parents.

  17. #17
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    English: Seriously, learn to read it and learn to talk it. This is the language of world commerce, like it or not. Social promotion has got to stop and we need to do a better job of diagnosing & handling reading disorders so that the kids that want to achieve can get around their handicap. My best friend wasn't diagnosed until college. His problem had always been that it took about 5x longer to read than anyone else but no one picked-up on the cause until college freshman composition. That guy that got into college on probation after begging for exceptance has since spent 7 semesters on the Dean's List following treatment, and it wasn't some two-bit college.

    Money Management: This was included in my economics class my HS senior year, but that was only because our teacher thought it was important and added it to the official curriculum. Budgeting, etc. should really start sometime in middle school, but some basic stuff can be done in elementary. I have an awful lot of friends that fell in this hole. My dad is a banker though and had me on the right track from an early age.

    Automotive Mechanics: You hardly see this elective anymore except in the large high schools. It seems like they could partner with a local vocational school to reduce some of the costs to run such a program.

    Home Economics: Yes, I'm talking about that cooking, knitting, etc. class. Many schools have eliminated this program. It should be required for everybody. Everyone needs a basic understanding of cooking and I don't know how many times I've had to stitch something up!

    Second Language: Yeah, doing it in high school is great, but isn't nearly as productive as it could be. This needs to start from 1st grade when kids can grasp things quicker and learning is still fun. They should be fluent by high school. I took three years of Spanish in high school and about the only thing I know is "Donde esta al bano" and "fiesta".

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  18. #18
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    I have a *big* problem with the seniors in high school being practically illiterate. How did they get so far? The schools have completely failed these kids.
    It isn't the "schools" as much as the school system, IMO. Until our society stops sending those who don't want to go... or shouldn't go... we'll have this problem. A high school diploma is nothing but the key to a crappy low paying job. If you don't believe me, check out the want ads. All the crappy jobs require a minimum of a HS diploma. Big deal...

    Instead of a grand shufffle of children then stuffing them into the same boxes, create a system that tests for aptitude and teaches skills accordingly...

    1) Academic. College preperatory... Plain and simple. The best and brightest who want to be there.

    2) Work Force. Train children in basics that will serve them well in the workforce, then use a good old fashioned apprentice system while in the final grades. Again... don't want to be there? Don't be...

    3) Life Skills. Up until a certain grade, it's the basics... Then you either go on, or you don't. Trying to teach kids who don't want to be taught hurts everyone.

    4) Returning Student. For adults who finally figure out "life skills" wasn't enough.

    (Sorry for the hijack... now back to your regularly scheduled thread.)
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  19. #19
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    They never told me that I would need to get a suit to advance in society.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


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  20. #20
    I chime in with money management classes because most of us learn it the hard way. Another important one is people skills. Most planners end up dealing with the public in very difficult situations. A couple of classes in that would have been helpful. Also a heads up about office politics, which can be brutal.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    The schools have completely failed these kids.
    Or how about the taxpayers completely failing those kids? How many of us here on Cyburbia want a better educated workforce but still continue to elect leaders whose primary goal is to reduce everyone's taxes? Somebody has to pay for a better education system, but we seem to be quite stingy.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Public education in this country, it seems to me, presumes that every child knows how to think. I disagree. Schools do a woeful job, particularly in the early grades, of teaching children to think, to question, to posit answers.
    Public schools were not designed to teach kids to think. They were designed to churn out factory drones, educated just enough to follow directions but teaching them to THINK would make them dangerous. The elites who dreamed them up explicitly stated that their own children would never set foot in them and would still get a REAL education, one suited to those destined to rule the factory drones. There's a book called "Riches for the Poor: The Clemente Course in Humanities" which you might find of interest. And, of course, John Holt has written a few books on the topic of what's wrong with public schools. His publisher founded a publishing company just to publish John Holt's first book and has a personal mission to dismantle the public school system (Harvard grad and Phd -- I think his ego is even bigger than mine ). One interesting tidbit: literacy rates went down after education became state-mandated.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Off-topic:


    Or how about the taxpayers completely failing those kids? How many of us here on Cyburbia want a better educated workforce but still continue to elect leaders whose primary goal is to reduce everyone's taxes? Somebody has to pay for a better education system, but we seem to be quite stingy.
    I agree with you, but I personally have a hard time paying more taxes to support a screwed up program that clearly isn't working.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    The most important thing they NEVER taught?

    How to give a nerd a good wedgie... It took me until 4th grade to learn that!

    It was also fun to push said nerd into the girls bathroom, but a trip to the principal put a stop to that...

    Also, paste eating and the bowel movements after it... THAT would've been a good course in Kindergarten.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  25. #25
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    They never told me that I would need to get a suit to advance in society.
    Right Rumpy. Seriously, this is another one I meant to include in my original post. They don't tell you this because unlike 2+2=4, its a totally arbitrary cultural norm. It would be too much of a touchy subject for them to explain why a suit is necessary. Then they might be forced to acknowledge the class structure that's propped up like a house of cards by all those stiff white shirts.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

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