Should Change What They Teach Students to Better Prepare Them for Life After High School

Junior (College 3rd year) ・English ・MLA ・2 Sources

K-12 education includes all of the schooling that students can receive from kindergarten to elementary school, as well as the completion of high school, which is the 12th grade. Students learn fundamental skills in academic core subjects such as mathematics, science, history, the arts, health education, and many others over the course of these years. Students are also offered a range of co-curricular activities in which they can participate at their leisure. Although the K-12 education system has been effective in imparting academic knowledge, it has been criticized for failing to prepare its students for life after high school as it solely focuses on academics while ignoring the teaching of life skills that are just as important. Therefore, the K-12 system should change what the students are taught to better prepare them for post-high school life.

One critical area that the K-12 system needs to prepare its students for is the operation of basic technology. The 21st century has seen many advancements in computing as well as the invention of machinery that has revolutionized the way in which modern tasks in many sectors are executed. In fact, these improvements have even become integral in education, with many teachers utilizing technological resources to facilitate learning. Unfortunately, the K-12 education system lacks programs that imbue students with solid technical knowledge that will help them advance in the workplace (Education World). The unfamiliarity with necessary applications such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and many others, the lack of Web and digital literacy skills and the absence of primary machinery operation skills leave many K-12 graduates impaired in the instance that they are required to complete any task requiring the above knowledge (Education World). Therefore, the K-12 curriculum needs to expand to include lessons in these areas, thus ensuring that the students are well prepared to handle any duty demanded in the present day workplace.

Furthermore, to be able to survive in a workplace environment, students need to learn how to behave in a professional manner. There are several particular habits that many universities will look for before admitting students as well as qualities that employers will actively seek in a candidate before hiring them (Alvarado). Examples of these characteristics include the ability to work in a team setting, creativity, innovation, the proper use of time and punctuality (Education World). Unfortunately, K-12 education enhances isolation and the competitive spirit, and due to the provision of a strict schedule, the students rarely get the opportunity to manage their own time. Apart from a few subjects such as arts and music, the focus on the acquisition of academic content rarely gives students the opportunity to think outside the box or stretch the boundaries of their creativity. Therefore, by the time they are finished with high school, they have no idea on how to deal with matters that require solutions outside of their academic boundaries (Alvarado). This pitfall necessitates the need for the bolstering of some aspects of the K-12 education, which will see teachers train students on how to work well with others, how to apply creative solutions to a problem and how to innovate. With such skills in hand, the K-12 graduates will be able to secure positions in prestigious learning institutions and later in competitive job positions.

The K-12 education additionally fails to equip students with the life skills that will help them navigate both their personal and professional lives. Some of them include proper communication, problem-solving, taking of initiative and the ability to analyze situations before applying possible solutions (Education World). In addition to making an individual more attractive to the admissions committee or an employer, the skills are crucial for the navigation of the unique set of challenges that life will throw at them. Furthermore, schools also need to teach students how to manage their finances. Many graduates of the system have a hard time completing basic financial tasks such as balancing their checkbooks, filing tax returns and creating a budget (Alvarado). As such, many of them end up with bad credit records or get into excessive credit card debt. Stress management should also be taught in schools as a core subject. Students need to learn how to cope with failure because tactics that coddle them in school, such as giving all the competitors awards in a bid to increase their confidence does not prepare them for the real world. The K-12 education system fails to take into account some of the needs that the students will face in future.

Regardless of the shortcomings that the K-12 education system seems to have, in its present state, it plays a significant role in preparing students for future careers. For instance, the emphasis that the structure places on the learning of subjects such as science and mathematics ensures that the students have the tools that will advance their careers in these fields (Education World). Presently, the world is increasingly becoming dependent upon the innovations that emerge from scientific research. Throughout the stages of K-12 education, students acquire comprehensive basic knowledge which is crucial if they hope to venture into the field after they finish high school. Apart from sciences and mathematics, the rest of the subjects offered by the system such as history, geography, languages, and many others is a gateway into many careers. The progressive acquisition of knowledge throughout 12 years of learning sufficiently prepares high school graduates for related university courses and careers in these areas. While the K-12 system may not be as holistic as is necessary to hope students cope with post-high school life, it disburses awareness that is essential for the navigation of university life and afterward. However, academic knowledge is not all that is needed to survive college and professional life. For that reason, the K-12 education system needs to expand its teaching beyond academia.

Overall, the goal of education in any society is to mold its children into responsible members of the community. Making them knowledgeable in all matters academics is a positive premiere step, but book smarts alone are not enough to prepare them for life in college and the 21st-century workforce. The K-12 curriculum needs to be rounded out to include the teaching of technological skills, life skills, and professional behavior. As such, its students will fit in seamlessly in any sector that they find themselves in, and they shall be able to keep their personal lives in order, a factor that will make them better professionals. Stakeholders in the education sector need to come together and amend the system to make it more suitable for present-day demands.

Works Cited

Alvarado, Larry. "Education Should Prepare Students For Work, Life." The EvoLLLution, 1 Mar. 2012, Accessed 25 Nov. 2017.

Education World. "Tomorrow's Workforce: What Students Need." Education World: Connecting Educators to What Works, 2017, Accessed 25 Nov. 2017.

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