OPINION: What we are actually supposed to learn in school

Scott Rainey (New)

Scott Rainey

I was listening to the first 20 minutes of what was probably the worst podcast episode I’ve ever heard. The podcast is called “London Real,” and the host invites highly successful people who mostly work in business or fitness. This episode, he invited Robert Kiyosaki to talk to him. Kiyosaki is the author of the number one best-selling personal finance book of all time, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” 

I got through just about a quarter of the show before I wanted to throw my phone out of a third-floor window in Bowman Hall. This guy spouted all kinds of Bad Stuff (we will call it B.S.) throughout the episode. He first said his own dad was his “poor dad,” and his best friend’s dad was his “rich dad.” Apparently, his Rich Dad doesn’t actually exist, and the guy gave wild and sometimes illegal advice to his readers.

The worst thing he said was that education was a waste of time because we don’t learn about money in school. This is not what education is for.

Education does not need to teach us about things like money, how to change a tire or how to file taxes. You can find that stuff all over the internet. We have the internet at our disposal almost always, and if you’re reading this on the lovely KentWired website, you can finish this and easily google something about taxes or changing tires.

Education’s primary focus should be to teach us how to think about information we receive, and it should excite us about learning. I had one amazing teacher, Mrs. Harr. She really understood how to get her students interested in learning. She knew that in order for something to stick in your mind, you must be into it and understand why you want to learn it. This is education at its best.

Education should also teach you how to think about things. Everyone would like to say they always think critically about their problems, others’ problems, politics and current events. However, that isn’t always the case, and the education system is the best place to enhance these skills.

Math is a good example. Math is hard, and plenty of people hate it, but it’s a great thing. It’s a problem-solving mechanism that gives you certain rules or formulas, and then shows you how to use those rules to achieve a goal.

Science is the same way. English teaches you to look beyond the surface of something. History teaches you about how we got here and why that’s significant. Education is about creating new ways of thinking and teaches you how to digest new information you receive. It should not be about how to invest in a 401(k).

Beyond the current K-12 and higher education curriculum, you should be a student for life. Hopefully you’ll remember your education experience fondly, because those tools you learned back in the day are great for managing life’s problems now. If you want to keep learning beyond your years here, you can. There’s so much more out there than what can be taught in a school, but don’t let that make you think negatively about primary, secondary and post-secondary education.

Scott Rainey is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].