School is the place for reading, writing, and arithmetic, but it does little to prepare students for the world at large. For example, did you ever find yourself wishing that you had been taught to balance your checkbook and make a budget while in school — or that you had been taught how to do your taxes?
Schools rely on parents to teach their children these all-too-important tasks of daily living, but it’s something that parents don’t always do. The following are some subjects schools should teach but don’t, along with descriptions of why they should.
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Finance and budgeting are key skills that are needed for daily living, yet they are often not considered sufficiently important to teach in school. Many high schools graduates have no idea what a budget is, let alone how to factor simple interest on loans or understand their loan obligations when borrowing to finance a college education. Some people might argue that teachers are not qualified to teach finances, but it doesn’t take a degree in economics to teach students how to balance a checkbook or create a budget.
Teaching basic finances in high school has the potential to turn out students who are better prepared for life as adults, helping them make educated choices when using a credit card or living on a monthly income.
Preparing a Tax Return
Preparing your income taxes is complicated. Rules are sometimes tough to understand, and tax returns tend to become more complex as life goes on. Chances are good that a majority of high school students who have a job only have to fill out IRS form 1040-EZ in order to file a tax return. The 1040-EZ is a simple form and takes less than an hour to complete. Learning how to enter the data and do the math prepares students for the more complicated forms that come down the road.
How a Modern Business Operates
Not everyone is going to have the aptitude or drive to start a business, but everyone benefits from understanding how a business runs. If students grasp the basics of business, they will benefit greatly as their career progresses.
Businesses have a base cost of operations in the form of rent or mortgage, payroll, supplies, and production. Today, businesses also need to think about where to store data and keep that data secure. The cloud is becoming an essential solution for small and large businesses that want to store core business data and functions in a secure, encrypted and easily accessible platform. It’s more important than ever for a student to learn about the transition from storing information on paper to storing it in the cloud, how the cloud operates, and how data is kept safe.
School is a great incubator of minds and an excellent place to learn the necessary building blocks of life. It’s also a place that would benefit from offering more than just the basics. Giving students a fundamental education in topics that are going to dominate their lives after graduation provides invaluable lifelong benefits.