Is today’s school system too generalized? Should we specialize sooner?
The short answer is Yes! Here is a longer one:
Everybody (living in developed countries) has had some mandatory education. Mine lasted for 10 years. Out of every day in one of those years, I spent 190 days in school, every school day lasted for 6 hours. That is 11 400 hours. When I graduated, my time spent in school represented an 8.22 percent of my entire life. That percentage is a rough estimate (because of stuff like sick days).
However, I do not argue that this is automatically a bad thing. I’m happy to have learned mathematics. It is quite useful to me, as I just demonstrated. But why did I need to study history? Why did I need to learn English from a Norwegian with broken pronunciation? In fact, I learned how to speak and write English by consuming media from English speaking countries. And, more importantly, by surfing the cyber-waves of the Internet. And why for the love of God did I get forced to read boring texts written by old or dead people? Forcing kids to read those tiresome government-picked texts did probably just turn people off from reading. If not for readily available fun and delightful audiobooks, I would have never gotten interested in reading.
I think the school system is outdated and overdue for a massive update because it’s utterly abysmal at its job. I get this notion from my own experience with one of the modern world’s educational system and by interacting with other people that have gone through similar educations. The average Joe is as dumb as they come and is (funnily enough) only capable when it comes to his job and other day-to-day activities. And great men do agree with me (sort of): “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” -Winston Churchill. And “The common man is a fool.” -H. L. Mencken. (By the way, I learned that last quote by watching Family Guy, and not in school). The school system is mostly incapable of educating people and is wasting our time.
I want to make it clear that I don’t think all of our mandatory education is a waste of time, just a significant portion of it. I already mentioned math, and I think social studies is a necessary class too. After all, it is important to know how society expects you to behave and how your country’s political system works.
But learning useless knowledge, that most students forget as soon as the test is over, is pointless. My biggest pet peeve is history. A subject that we learn enough by proxy in the other classes. I think instead of forcing kids to learn that Cheaster A. Arthur was the 21st president of the United States (a fact I know because of Die Hard 3), maybe learning these things is more useful: Programming, how to do taxes (or any other “how-to-adult” things) and philosophy.
Yes, philosophy. I believe that studying philosophy is a million times as beneficial than learning how to analyze a poem. Believe it or not, poem interpreting is advocated for by saying: “It is a good thing for a [self-thinking] citizen [to know].”* That is ridiculous! They didn’t kill Socrates because he learned the youth of Athens how to analyze poems. Philosophy is, of course, taught in universities. However, most people have better things to do than to waste even more time in school. (I’m talking about getting that sweet-ass money, son: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkox8x1LxQ4).
And another thing. When it comes to individuals who know what they want to do with their lives, why do they need to be forced to learn something they will never use? Even more of the school curriculum is wasted on those people. For example, a lot of kids that spent their adolescence drawing is now drawing as a profession. Who would have predicted that? They should pretty much just learned to read, write and do basic mathematics, and then be left alone. Why was that kind of person sent to 10 years (or more) mandatory prison? … I mean school. Kids that love to draw should not be forced to waste their time. Put the children in an environment that fosters their artistry.
Maybe some people would disagree with that last paragraph and say: “What if a person does not make it as an artist or just get bored with it? What then?” Well, did you learn how to do your job in school? Or did you attained most of your work skills by working? I know I did.
So in conclusion. We have generalized our society’s education too much! We need to, if possible, specialize sooner, and we need to learn more practical things. Or at the very least replace history class with philosophy class. Leave history to the weirdoes who find it interesting.
*: I translated that quote from Norwegian, so it was hard to quote it correctly without using these guys: [ ].(http://www.forlagsliv.no/knutnarum/2014/10/29/var-tids-forakt-for-kunnskap/)