The other night, I sat down to take care of my 2019 taxes. Armed with my 2018 tax forms and an IRS-sponsored how-to as a reference, I was fairly confident I’d finish up within an hour. Four hours of frustration and stress later, I leaned back in my chair, signed the final dotted line, and sighed, “I wish we learned how to do this in school,” out loud.
Whodathunk that teaching a useful tool for adulthood at some point during elementary, middle, and high school might be a good way to spend some of that 13 years?
Filing taxes isn’t the only skill our education system can teach that would make the world a better place. Sift through Twitter, Facebook, or the comments on YouTube videos for a few minutes. Turn on the news and watch talking heads argue with one another about one person sitting in a certain white house for hours on end.
Perhaps teaching our fragile-minded youth a thing or two about skills they’ll use EVERY DAY like empathy, communication, collaboration, emotional intelligence, and creativity would do them better than learning how to classify species of primates, a skill they’ll never use… unless they become a biologist.
Imagine students graduating college and entering the workforce with the abilities to diffuse conflicts before they even start, to turn disagreement into collaboration, to share the talents they’ve been honing for over a decade in a way that contributes to society.
Or we could keep teaching them cursive.
Kids need to engage their brains, explore, and discover what they’re passionate about, and how to work with other people to share their passions. It’s silly that the system forces children to work alone on tests, projects, and various busy work, while ranking them individually. Then, once they graduate, they have to suddenly work together in groups with others who don’t think like them, and no one has the skillset to collaborate efficiently.
HOW IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS!?
In episode five of the You Can’t Laugh at That podcast, the topic of discussion is school shootings. As comedians, one of our jobs is to point out absurdities and injustices in ways that make people laugh. The fact that younger generations have to go to school worried about a potential shooting is absurd. Yet, nothing is being done about it. Sure, lawmakers are attempting to pass legislation to restrict the purchase of firearms, but an overhaul of our massively outdated education system – a system that was created to control the population during the Industrial Revolution – reaches the core (not Common Core) of the problem.
Shootings are the symptoms of a much larger problem:
- Kids aren’t being taught actual life skills like how to get along with others who aren’t like them. They’re taught how to fall in line and fit within a societal construct.
- Children need to collaborate, explore, and be creative, and that need is being stifled in favor of robotic, state-mandated curriculum and standardized tests.
- Children are punished for their eccentricities and displaying their talents in ways that don’t fit an outdated system.
Do you think there’d be a school shooting problem if students actually looked forward to going to school? No one has ever said, “I love going to school!” Then proceeded to go on a shooting rampage.
What can we do? It’s not like our education system is going to be overhauled overnight. We can:
- Push our school districts to put more money into art and mental health programs
- Lobby for schools to push more collaborative classroom learning experiences
- Vote the legislators out of office who support standardized testing
- If you have children, support their creative exploration and let them make mistakes. Besides, you’ve made mistakes too. It’s okay to not know all the answers all the time, and your children need you to support them as they search for the answers to their questions. That’s the real education
- START A CLASS THAT TEACHES KIDS HOW TO DO THEIR TAXES
It takes several small changes, starting in your home and in your community, for any real and lasting change to occur. After a quick glance at our world today, there is a deep need for growth in how we condition our children, and rather than just alleviating the symptoms, it’s time to get to the root of it all.
Also, WHY ARE WE EVEN TEACHING CURSIVE!?
You Can’t Laugh at That episode 4: School Shootings