What if the “Real World” Was Like School?

Imagine your worst meeting day ever.  How many hours were you in meetings?  5, 6, 8?  Now imagine experiencing that every day.  Every day of work is comprised completely of meetings.  Imagine the content of those meetings is completely theoretical.  You are asked to learn, reflect, retain, review, regurgitate without ever being asked to DO something with what you’ve learned.  Now imagine not being able to doodle while you listen, or confer with your coworkers regarding any of the information you are receiving.  Imagine only having the opportunity to complete your to do list after work because there’s no time during.  To top it all off, every assignment you complete is scored and you are tested at least once or twice a week on every facet of every meeting.  Would you stay at that job or would you quit?  I know I personally would quit.  It’s amazing that more high school students don’t.
  Here’s the disconnect:
-The skills students are learning in high school do not accurately reflect the skills they need for college and the work force.  In this 2013 study(page 4) of student readiness for the business world, students scored less than 50% in most of the skills categories former employers saw as vital to their profession.  Now I’m sure you’re saying, “well not everyone goes into business.”  The reality is that everyone has to make money.  Business is the underlying unifier for most sources of employment, unless you decide to enter a field in government.  Even then, the government has to earn money to pay people.  Even non-profits have to earn money.

-Students’ overall understanding of economics and finance coming out of school has created a financial burden for millenials.  In a June 2015 study(page 5) of millenials’ financial health, newamerica.org determined that only 19% of millenials have both financial education and a simple savings account.  Given this information, does it matter that they have the quadratic formula memorized or that they know the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620?

Please don’t get me wrong.  Education is important, and there are some things students have to learn because they’re unsure which career field they want to enter.  There are also things they need to learn because they are valuable, lifelong tools.  There are ways in which the structure has to be different because they are not adults yet.  However, think about back in the 1800s and early
1900s.  There weren’t established high school attendance standards and “students” went to work at a young age.  Biology hasn’t changed, which means our students are still capable of functioning in a work-like environment.  We just need to provide them with the right tools.

We will be exploring the idea of transforming high school throughout this series.  There will be interviews with colleges, businesses, administrators, teachers, and students as we try to imagine a secondary utopia that adequately prepares students for what lies ahead.  As this is a hot-button issue, we ask that your comments be respectful.  That being said, we welcome you to share your agreements and disagreements as we embark on this exciting endeavor.  View more innovative ideas at: http://xqsuperschool.org/

Have a great week!

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