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Credit scores, voting and taxes. Oh my!

Graph courtesy of TNS
Graph courtesy of TNS

The American education system fills the heads of students with vast amounts of information, but none of that helps young adults when filing taxes or looking to buy a home. While learning core concepts, such as the history of our country, may be vital to our education, there are real-world applications that would better serve a young adult’s transition into adulthood.

On the 18th birthday of every person, they are afforded the responsibility of managing credit, filing taxes, renting or owning a residence, staying on top of bills, taking out loans for various needs, and so much more. If your parents do not teach you about these things, you are left to fend for yourself. This method of learning is what attributes to poor credit, tax audits, bad financial planning, and mounds of debt.

How are young adults expected to be successful in America without the proper tools and learning curves to do so?

I recently attended a tour at American University and one of the business courses simulated the stock market. While not all students are going to be interested in the stock market, the idea that students are getting real life simulations was fascinating to me.

Instead of requiring that student take a certain math or science class, why not require that over the course of high school and college schooling students must enroll in classes to help better manage the transition into adulthood?

The American education system as it stands continues to produce students who are focused on consuming. Students consume the knowledge given to them yet are not taught to be innovative in acquiring knowledge about real world applications.

Instead of carving out time for standardized testing, why not allot time for students to independently study things like building credit, obtaining health insurance, taking out student loans?

It seems as though American schools are training students for a society that is no longer in existence. We learn about how the past operated and the methods that have been effective instead of what is currently happening in our world.

Students are taught how to become average functioning adults yet fail to excel in other practical areas because they lack innovation and a yearning to seek information outside of the educational box. In short, our system teaches us how to become perfect consumers instead of producers who consume.

Voter turnouts are generally low for our generation in part because of a lack of voter education. Not regularly teaching the know-how or political education attributes to the high levels of non-voters. If American education put more emphasis in learning about this topic, then it is likely that voter turnout would increase.

Our system teaches us to purchase items we do not need with money we do not have. Schools do not require courses on financial planning so, of course, young adults are going into debt at an early age.

How will our generation survive debt and bankruptcy without the tools to do so?

We learn in a trial by method manner in regards to almost everything unless educated by our parents. Credit is not something to be learned in an experimental manner. Once you default on a loan or refuse to repay a credit card, your credit is damaged. Our education system does not put an emphasis on learning this vital part of being a successful adult.

Why do many of us go without the important knowledge until we are faced with making a decision? Perfect Consumer Theory. We seek out information only when looking to make a change, not because it should be a required skill set for all American adults regardless of use.

Could it be that our education system is intentionally faulty in certain areas because of the need for class differentiation?

Things such as credit knowledge and financial planning skills are not seen as important as learning how to do basic algebra. I could get by without knowing how to solve math equations, but surviving without learning about managing my money or ensuring I don’t damage my credit are things that are just important as learning how to type or read.

 

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