High school was once looked upon as the formal gateway to adulthood. The last obstacle students pass as a young adult, and the stepping stone for their future as an individual.
It was intended to serve as an experience to teach the information to continue one’s journey, whether that may be higher education, the pursuit of a trade or to simply become an independent member of society.
But as furthering one’s education has become the standard, high schools have begun to teach less about applicable life skills, instead focusing on college preparation, leaving many students to feel left behind. Schools should teach the skills that are necessary to be an adult, not just prepare students for college.
One of the largest reasons that people feel this way comes down to expectations within academia and how they have shifted. In many school systems, the idea that all students should go to college is now being taught from the moment their education begins. While this is true for many, it is not the reality of what many students will do after graduating high school.
Many schools do not have programs to teach students specific skills, nor do they have guidance from individuals with experience and knowledge to help students figure out whether it may be the right path for them.
Aside from finding a career after school, students are not prepared for the responsibilities that they are faced with as they begin adulthood. Taxes, finances and other monotonous tasks that every adult must do can be overwhelming to a young adult who does not know where to start.
The knowledge and skills necessary to handle these responsibilities are not standardized across high school education, and therefore are not taught to many students, leaving those without involved support systems at a strong disadvantage.
According to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 82% of parents, students and employees think that high school should put a greater focus on taxes rather than the concept of geometry, and 81% of students surveyed also said they think that they should focus on the development of real world skills like problem solving instead of academic subject matter.
Students should leave high school feeling prepared, regardless of the path they choose to follow. They should be taught how to effectively do the tasks that society gives. Students should be pushed to explore the options that are available to them, challenging the expectations that our current education system currently provides.