Sand Dollars Less, Real Dollars More

In college, I took a course in personal finance. In the class, I studied useful topics like how to buy and finance a house, how to invest and save for retirement, and how to use credit responsibly. I took the class only because it was required for my major, but it turned out to be one of the most practical classes that I took in college.

In my eight years of high school and college I was required to take the following science classes:

High School - Biology, Chemistry, Physics
College - Biology, Physics, Physical Science

In all, I took nine semesters of science. Now this would be well and good if I wanted to be a scientist, or even a doctor. But I don't. I want to be a businessman. I can understand the need to familiarize students with a broad range of topics, but why does our education system insist on requiring so much science when few people will ever use it in their life or their jobs?

Conversely, I believe that our education system has largely neglected the importance of teaching about money and finance. These topics, I would argue, have a much more practical application for more people than science does. I consider myself lucky that I had even one semester of finance training. But if it had not been part of my major, I would have left college knowing more about mushrooms and mollusks than about money.

I don't mean to say that science is worthless. I could have just as easily described all of the humanites, social science, or English classes that I was required to take. I definitely see the need to teach all subjects for a well-rounded education. My point is that I think that our "general education" is a top-heavy with subjects that many people do not need on a regular basis. As a result, more useful topics like finance are glazed over or omitted.

Though blame for the current financial crisis can be appropriately placed upon greedy bankers and businessmen, I strongly feel that there is some culpability left over for our education system. Over the last 20 or 30 years, if our schools had spent more time teaching students how to spend and save responsibly, we as an American people might not have gotten ourselves into this mess in the first place.

On the other hand, my knowledge earthworms have five hearts is bound to pay off someday.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Such a good point Drew. As an English major I took exactly 0 finance classes in college. And none in high school. So, I can tell you all about Shakespeare, but nothing about how to buy a house. Learning to file taxes was a trial and error process. SCARY. And yeah...took quite a few science classes including but not limited to: archeology, the physics of musical instruments, and biology three different times. Can't even remember what I learned in those classes...