Staff Editorial: high school needs more preparatory classes

Information Graphic by Tessa Rosa

School, a place for learning and growing. It’s a place that should prepare students for real life and get them on the track to success. After 13 years in such an institution, they should be ready to take the next step, they should know the basics to get them where they need to be. However, school as is right now does not entirely prepare them for real life.

A lot of time is spent on subjects students will most likely not use in the future. Most will not become math majors that make a living dividing polynomials. Instead of requiring so many years of a subject, schools should provide a life skills class. This class would provide the knowledge that everyone will use regardless of their plans after high school.

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The five main courses students learn Math, Science, English and Social Studies are important. However, they do not necessarily prepare anyone for real life. The depth they go into is up for questioning. Some schools, such as San Diego High Tech High, have ruled out textbooks and are doing hands-on learning. Students are writing plays instead of essays which, according to The Hechinger Report, inspires deeper learning.

School is supposed to teach students things they will need for the rest of their lives, but instead it is focusing on test scores and grades that will get someone into college. This lead to the birth of the saying, “teaching to the test.” This is a problem. At the age of 18 students graduate from high school, move out on their own-whether that is to a college dorm or elsewhere-and begin their life without someone guiding them. These students do not know things they should, such as the difference between a credit card and a debit card because they are forced to focus on the mandated courses in order to graduate.

Some would argue that it is high school’s job to prepare for college, and college’s job to prepare  for real life; but once a student graduates from high school they become an adult. They are expected to do adult work, such as shop for themselves, pay bills and decide on their path for the rest of their life. This is a lot of responsibility to place on someone who does not know things about real life outside of a textbook and not every student continues on to college.

An efficient way of learning is field trips, not just fun trips to places like Valley Fair or New York, but trips to the store to learn how to shop and pay for things. Field trips will deepen students knowledge on subjects they are already interested in as well as give them experiences. High school provides a free education, but it should provide a way to start getting students into what they want to do.

A life skills class’ curriculum would include teaching valuable tasks such as sewing, cooking, building, shopping and how to fix various things on a vehicle. These are things that students will need to know how to do later in life. At some point they will own a car and need to know how to maintain it properly.

Many students have said that they do not feel prepared for real life, they do not feel like they know things that they should. They do not know things like how to do taxes. These are things that are important for someone to know. Whether someone goes to college or not, they will need to know what these are and how to do them.

Some would argue that it is the parents’ job to teach all of this to their children, but if that child is in school for at least six hours a day and then expected to do homework there is not really much time. Offering a class inside of school would reduce stress that teenagers have as well as give them good experience and knowledge. It should not necessarily be required because like all things students have different knowledge of subjects, but it should be an elective.

Offering electives is a good way for students to experience different things they may like, but requiring a language and art takes away from the other options available. Some students know what they want to be early on and other do not even know what all of the options are. Instead of focusing on generals, starting in high school life skills should be learned and a more individualized process of starting the future should be taken.

Adults say that real life starts after high school, but they are not accurately preparing students for this real world. According to Public School Review, 95 percent of students report that not enough variety is offered to fit their interests.

High school is where students begin to discover themselves. It is a place to learn and is supposed to teach things that will prepare students for real life. Offering a life skills class will help prepare them so much more than the required years of generals. No two people are exactly alike and so electives are important. It is time to fix a system that is not working for everyone.