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    An article from the Los Angeles Times

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed...211-story.html

    It is American but much of it appears to be relevant in Britain.

    There is a massive gap between school and work, between learning and earning. While the labor market rewards good grades and fancy degrees, most of the subjects schools require simply aren't relevant on the job. Literacy and numeracy are vital, but few of us use history, poetry, higher mathematics or foreign languages after graduation. The main reason firms reward education is because it certifies (or "signals" brains, work ethic and conformity.

    One of the most glaring perversities of the modern labor market is credential inflation. While the education workers need to do a job is quite stable, the education they need to get a job has skyrocketed since the 1940s.

    Despite all these tell-tale signs of signaling, many of my fellow researchers refuse to take the idea seriously. Sure, signaling seems to fit our firsthand experience. Yet why would profit-seeking employers base their decisions on mere credentials instead of potential to perform well on the job?

    I have not yet got round to reading the book The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money

    https://www.amazon.com/Case-against-...3ABryan+Caplan
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    The point of schooling is not simply to set you up with the skills to hold down a job, it's about preparing you so you can live a meaningful and productive life. Sure, you might not need history or music or geography in your day job, but how dull and pointless would life be if you never even learned the first thing about any of these subjects? How are you going to budget your finances without some understanding of mathematics? How can you hope to enjoy your brief stay in the living world if you don't know anything about it besides how to work?
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    (Original post by Dez)
    it's about preparing you so you can live a meaningful and productive life.
    Unfortunately secondary school falls down badly when it comes to teaching useful life skills ranging from property to driving to pensions and investments or even changing washer on a dripping tap.

    Sure, you might not need history or music or geography in your day job, but how dull and pointless would life be if you never even learned the first thing about any of these subjects?
    School is based on coercion - students have to attend lessons, do the work, and complete homework assignments or else it becomes a disciplinary matter. They can't choose which area of history or geography that they want to study.

    How are you going to budget your finances without some understanding of mathematics?
    KS2 mathematics is perfectly adequate for this. The GCSE of my era didn't even include compound interest but instead wasted children's time on Euclidean geometry.

    How can you hope to enjoy your brief stay in the living world if you don't know anything about it besides how to work?
    I'm not going to get into any arguments about Maslow's hierarchy of needs but it's more than possible to learn more about the real world outside of the classroom by visiting places like museums etc.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Unfortunately secondary school falls down badly when it comes to teaching useful life skills ranging from property to driving to pensions and investments or even changing washer on a dripping tap.



    School is based on coercion - students have to attend lessons, do the work, and complete homework assignments or else it becomes a disciplinary matter. They can't choose which area of history or geography that they want to study.



    KS2 mathematics is perfectly adequate for this. The GCSE of my era didn't even include compound interest but instead wasted children's time on Euclidean geometry.



    I'm not going to get into any arguments about Maslow's hierarchy of needs but it's more than possible to learn more about the real world outside of the classroom by visiting places like museums etc.
    The article makes an interesting point - but it seems to be entirely about post compulsory education though.

    TBH I'm pretty doubtful that many people who get into debt problems would actually have benefited from being taught about compound interest at school... I reckon every GP in the country sees obese patients every week who'll tell the Dr that they eat a couple of small salads that don't even amount to the number of calories required to sustain life. The obese patients know what they should eat and they know what they shouldn't eat. They've got the information, they just don't act on it... EVEN MORE compulsory lessons about healthy eating aren't going to help.
    People make bad decisions that bring them some short term comfort and then lie to themselves and everyone else about why they did it.

    Dunno what would be in property lessons, over the past few decades 'buy a house as soon as you can' would have on balance been good advice in the UK but that's not an universal truth, it's an ideology really - places like Germany have far lower rates of home ownership and the people there make their money by working rather than sitting on a property. Even in the UK there have been occasional corrections that have seen people with negative equity forced to sell.
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    I hold the view that degrees are matched to careers when it comes to knowledge and 99% of all careers that specify a degree in almost any subject do not require a degree qualified person at all. Transferrable and universal skills resulting from a degree are a vastly overrated, almost mythical, concept and more often than not are of marginal relevance for the job or easily learned outside of university, so in reality asking for a degree qualified person is nothing but credentialism and signaling.

    I'm also appalled by the poor typesetting of undergraduate theses but that's a story for another discussion.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    I hold the view that degrees are matched to careers when it comes to knowledge and 99% of all careers that specify a degree in almost any subject do not require a degree qualified person at all. Transferrable and universal skills resulting from a degree are a vastly overrated, almost mythical, concept and more often than not are of marginal relevance for the job or easily learned outside of university, so in reality asking for a degree qualified person is nothing but credentialism and signaling.

    I'm also appalled by the poor typesetting of undergraduate theses but that's a story for another discussion.
    did you mean to say NOT matched :unsure:

    It was a lot about signalling in the 80's too as far as I could tell. And probably much further back than that.
    AFAICT the people who were going to do very well for themselves in the world of work regardless predominantly went to university after school and everyone seemed to form a cheerful consensus around the idea that it must have been going to university that caused them to have 'better' careers than average.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Unfortunately secondary school falls down badly when it comes to teaching useful life skills ranging from property to driving to pensions and investments or even changing washer on a dripping tap.
    True, but that's more a critique of curriculum goals than of the education system itself.

    (Original post by Arran90)
    School is based on coercion - students have to attend lessons, do the work, and complete homework assignments or else it becomes a disciplinary matter. They can't choose which area of history or geography that they want to study.
    Not sure how this is really relevant, to be honest.

    (Original post by Arran90)
    KS2 mathematics is perfectly adequate for this. The GCSE of my era didn't even include compound interest but instead wasted children's time on Euclidean geometry.
    Clearly the study of non-Euclidean geometry is being woefully underappreciated in schools. :p: Still, knowing a bit about how to solve abstract problems and apply logic is generally a useful skill I think.

    (Original post by Arran90)
    I'm not going to get into any arguments about Maslow's hierarchy of needs but it's more than possible to learn more about the real world outside of the classroom by visiting places like museums etc.
    Well the school term is generally quite short giving a lot of free time for extra-curricular activities like this. If you want more museum trips as part of school time, campaign for better school funding maybe?
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    It was a lot about signalling in the 80's too as far as I could tell. And probably much further back than that.
    AFAICT the people who were going to do very well for themselves in the world of work regardless predominantly went to university after school and everyone seemed to form a cheerful consensus around the idea that it must have been going to university that caused them to have 'better' careers than average.
    There's probably truth to this. Stephen Hawking's parents came to realise that an independent school education was almost essential to access prestigious careers judging from people already in such careers. This is why they decided to enrol Stephen Hawking in an independent school.

    I wasn't around at the time but it could have been 90% signalling and only 10% educational knowledge and O Level qualifications.
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    Literacy and numeracy are vital, but few of us use history, poetry, higher mathematics or foreign languages after graduation.

    You'd be surprised.. It is a bit shallow if people fail to see the merit in subjects that dont appear to be directly related.
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    (Original post by Dez)
    Clearly the study of non-Euclidean geometry is being woefully underappreciated in schools. :p: Still, knowing a bit about how to solve abstract problems and apply logic is generally a useful skill I think.
    I could write volumes about the wonderful world of Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry for both GCSE and A Level. Although I can't prove this, I suspect that geometry is a weak area amongst teachers in comparison to algebra and even calculus.

    The fact of the matter is that you started the discussion with budgeting your finances which, for the most part, just requires KS2 knowledge apart from finance specific topics like the compound interest formula.
 
 
 
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