Education In America: Are Our Children Really Prepared For The Future?

Education In America: Are Our Children Really Prepared For The Future?

My child failed a math test today.

It was interesting the thoughts and feelings that came up with this. Now, granted, she's in the 2nd grade, so what's the big deal? But, I have to say, a litany of guilt, despairs and my own insurances rose to the surface, "Was I preparing my child well enough for life?"

This thought cave way to other thoughts about how we prepare our children for life. Certainly, a well-rounded education is the foundation from which all of us spring forth. It is good and I am interested to the many incredible teachers who in my life inspired me to do greater things, and have ignited within me the fiery passion for perpetual learning!

I have also been privileged to have the most amazing teachers in all of my children's lives. These are not just ordinary people. They are super-human, extraordinary beings who not only teach our children, but love them, challenge them, nurture them, kiss their boo-boos and provide an environment where a child learns how to learn.

They are my heroes.

But, sometimes I wonder if the outline of our educational plan is somewhat missing in preparation for real life. I watched the movie "Easy A" with my older daughter. It was delightful and insightful and really tackled some of the hot spots teens have to navigate today. The main character's parents were hilarious! They were loving, supportive and playful, but instilled great confidence in their daughter and nurtured her ability to handle her own problems.

There was a scene where the mother was speaking to the younger child and he announced that he received an "A" on his spelling test. She replied, "That's great, honey, but everything has spellcheck these days." It was hilarious … but TRUE! Not that I am advocating that we do not teach our children how to spell (although with precedent of text language, we might need to step this up even more!) But maybe some of our time should be spent educating them about the dangers of posting things on Facebook that could haunt them the rest of their lives. The drunken dance on top of a table is funny now, but not when you want to run for a political office or already in office. Yea, those pictures go viral … ask Senator Weiner.

We may be educating them, but are they learning what they need to – to survive?

Maybe we might want to spend time showing them how real life works – signing contracts really do obligate you, they are not kidding. Oh, and the credit card is not free money – you will have to pay it back at sometime. Oh, and get this – they charge you for borrowing that money. Perhaps, we should spend some time on interpersonal relationships (and no, that does not involve texting or the social network). I worry that our kids do not know how to relate to one another … (OMG, frowny face emoticon).

Choosing a career is a daunting task. My daughter is a sophomore in college and has changed her major twice. My stepdaughter did the same. These are smart girls, mind you – both graduated summa cum laude. It's not that they did not know what they wanted to do. What they "wanted to do" and the degree they chose did not match.

I have learned many college students do not know what they want to do because they have not seen what it looks like in the "real world." Being a journalist in the real world looks way different than writing stories. Maybe if we spend some time exposing them to real life experience – maybe internships in high-school or the ability to take two or three courses in areas of interest in high-school that give them a "feel" for what that particular field would look like, they might be better prepared. I do not know the solution, but it seems one should at least be a topic of discussion.

We give them the keys to the car, a "Smart Phone" and a credit card yet few can cook a meal for themselves, do their own laundry or balance their accounts.

I read the other day that 80% of 4-year-olds can run a phone app. They just can not tie their shoes.

That just does not add up.

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