In one form or another, compulsory education has been in the US for over 150 years. Math and language arts are the subjects focused on most in public schools, with science, history, art, and
other subjects included in a lesser capacity. Many parents agree that these subjects should be given more classroom time. Let’s look at seven of the most common subjects missing from or lacking in the classroom.
Everyday Adult Skills
Personal finance is one of the most overlooked subjects in the school systems, although classes are offered. The problem with most of these classes is that they aren’t practical. They don’t teach students modern ways of creating a budget, personal spending, or getting bills paid. Learning to use a paper and pencil checkbook register and an excel spreadsheet is educational, but not practical for the ways we budget now. Websites like alkeytab.com offer straightforward ebooks for parents wanting to teach their children about modern personal finance. Along the same lines, traditional classroom education is behind the times in terms of career planning and household skills. Many schools focus on preparing for college, which seems outdated when you consider that 40% of college graduates end up accepting positions that don’t even require a degree. And as silly as it may sound, home economics classes focus on outdated ideas of teaching housewives how to bake. A more useful approach would be to teach students of all genders how to sweep and mop, do laundry, change lightbulbs, and clean bathrooms.
Communication and Relationships
Adults who grew up without cell phones can attest to the fact that children, teens, and young adults who have grown up with cell phones lack communication skills. Schools would do well to
teach these practical skills, including how to make reservations and appointments over the phone. Personal relationship education is also outdated and taught for only a few weeks a year during health classes. Students need to be taught about date rape, marriage, divorce, how to date, and other practical, modern relationship advice applicable to all genders and sexual orientations. A news article from KMOV talks about how one set of parents took advantage of their area’s Covid-19 lockdown to create a “Common Sense Camp” to educate their kids on some of these topics.
History and Mental Health
The victors write history, which is a huge problem with history textbooks. It leads to a limited worldview and systemic racism, nationalism, and ethnocentrism. For example, many
curriculums teach black history for only a few weeks of the year and from a white point of view. This approach is outdated, and students need to be taught black history from black scholars.
They also need anti-racism education. In response to the murder of George Floyd, many teachers are already reinventing how they’ll tackle history and anti-racism in their curriculums when school starts in the fall, according to a report by ABC News. Mental health education is also limited to a week or two during health classes and often doesn’t focus on modern or practical mental health issues.
The education system in America leaves a lot to be desired in terms of modern, practical subjects aimed at helping students prepare for adulthood. The big question is whether schools should be responsible for these topics. Teachers and schools end up being a catch-all solution for many issues and topics—some they should address and some should be the responsibility of parents. No matter how schools address these deficits, parents can and should take the lead and make themselves responsibility for educating their children in these sorely lacking topics.