Why Do We Make Kids Take Useless Classes In School?

Why Do We Make Kids Take Useless Classes In School?

Lawyers don't know about every law, but we sure have lots of opinions and I have one about school education.

My son is taking geometry this year.  It's the first time that I legitimately can't help him with his homework if he is confused or has a question.  I remember nothing about geometry and when he asked me when he would use this in real life, all I could think of as a response was, "Uhhhh .... the SAT's????"

I certainly don't ever use geometry, at least not anything beyond the basics. I Googled it to give him an answer and the most common professional use is in construction projects.  I certainly don't think geometry is pointless, it's just pointless for me and almost everyone else beyond the basics.  Maybe it's good for exercising the brain, but relevant classes could also do that.  I don't anticipate that my son will ever have a real life use for algebra II or calculus.  And if he does start heading toward a career that needs that skill, he can take those classes in college.

I'd rather him learn web design and other computer programming related work.  Yes I know that geometry is used in graphic design, so great, teach that as part of a practical application to life instead of theoretically.

Beyond that, I speak to so many people who have such a terrible grasp on the English language that I'd rather we replace the more intensive English literature classes with stricter teaching of proper grammar.  My kids take Spanish, but I'd like to see them pushed to the point that they can/will be fluent by the time they graduate high school.  It would be amazing for my job and for many others to be bi-lingual. We should keep history classes, but let's get rid of the phony Christopher Columbus was a hero who discovered America nonsense and teach true history as well as give a heavy focus on current events.

Looking back, I think the two most useful classes I took in high school were driver's ed and home economics.  Learning how to balance a check book, budget and drive are really important.  I'd love if more classes focused on real life solutions.

Things weren't much different in college or law school.  This isn't to say that classes aren't relevant at all.  My law school evidence class was great. But the best thing I did was take a mediation class where I became a certified mediator and aside from learning in the classroom, I got to mediate actual cases.

The reason real life classes are so great is that it moves away from a teaching model that is basically "sit down, shut up" to one that can give a good answer to a student who asks, "why are we learning this?"

And I do know that some things that seem useless can one day become useful for some.  But I think it makes way more sense to focus on classes and skills that will be useful for most.  Even in something like gym class, it might be more fun to play basketball or ultimate frisbee, but it would be more valuable to the real, long term world to teach kids how to dance, hit a golf ball or even learn about point spreads.

I know of course that this type of change will never happen as we are a this is how things have always been done nation. So this mostly a "get off my lawn" rant.  When you see the waste of time through the eyes of your child it really does make you realize how much better our school system can be.

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