• [Article 77]10 Most Important Subjects To Learn In School

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    Back in 2012, I wrote a post saying that I thought food technology / home economics was the most important subject to learn in school. A week later, Shae countered by saying that she thought typing was the most important school subject.

    Then last week, I read a post over on Pando Daily where Bryan Goldberg (founder of Bleacher Report) said that he thought coding was most important.

    Taking into account how much things have changed since I left school exactly half my life ago (I’m 32 and you finish school at 16 in the UK), there are some subjects I’m glad I learned and others that I wish I had.

    So here’s my list of the 10 most important subjects to learn in school:

    1. Food Technology

    I still think this is the number one subject that should be taught in schools. No matter how else society and technology changes in the coming decades, we’ll always need to eat, know what foods are healthy, know food hygiene, etc.

    2. Typing

    I agree with Shae that this is an incredibly vital skill to have. Much of my day is spent typing – not only for my 9-5 job but blogging both here on Youth Workin’ It and over at Scavenger Hunt. If I wasn’t a relatively fast typist, it would take me far longer to do all these things and I’d be far less efficient.

    I’ve seen some people say that typing will be less important in the future due to voice input and auto transcribing, but I’m still to be convinced by this. I certainly find it easier to type out my thoughts rather than speak them, although I think Shae’s the opposite as she processes things more easily by talking them out.

    Voice activation would also need to greatly improve for me to use it for typing, as my British accent seems to throw it off whenever I try composing an email or text by speaking it. For example, when speaking this last sentence into my phone, this is what comes out:

    Voice activation will send me to think im pretty for me to use the typing is Michael Jackson sing to fight off whenever I try composing an email to text by speaking into it.

    3. Coding

    I also agree with Bryan’s post over on Pando that coding is an incredibly useful skill to have. Learning this subject at school will give students a head start in a global economy where coders are in high demand.

    4. Self Learning

    This may seem like a strange one to include, but it’s vital that schools teach students how to learn for themselves so that they continue on this path once they’ve left school.

    If you don’t learn new skills, you’ll struggle in an ever-changing work environment. In recent years, some skills, jobs and industries have been made obsolete virtually overnight, so young people can no longer assume that they’ll be able to remain in the same steady job for their entire life.

    5. 3D Modeling

    3D printing is set to revolutionize manufacturing, so the ability to model, design and print 3D products will be an incredibly lucrative skill for young people to have.

    6. World & Cultural Awareness

    In an increasingly globalized world, youth now come into contact with people of many different cultures and this is only going to increase. It’s therefore important for youth to think globally and for them to have an understanding and appreciation of cultures different to theirs.

    7. Money Management

    I don’t think any subjects I learned at school looked at money management, even though this is something that everybody needs to know. Knowing how to budget, understanding how insurance works, understanding how credit and interest rates can cause long term debt are all areas young people need to learn, especially before going off to college and into the workforce.

    8. Web Design

    Although WordPress and custom themes make it relatively easy to create your own website, web design is still an incredibly useful skill that should be taught in schools.

    9. Math

    I’m fortunate as I’ve always found mental arithmetic fairly easy and enjoyed math, although I know I’m probably in the minority here. Although I don’t think I’ve ever had to use algebra since I was at school, general numeracy is important in many different walks of life.

    10. Religious Education

    I’m not talking about having youth only learn about Christianity here. In point 6 above I’d mentioned that appreciating other cultures is important, but understanding and appreciating other faiths is just as necessary.

    Question: How about you – what do you think are the most important subjects to learn in school? Let us know in the comments below.


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    Trick Photography And Special Effects E-book

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  • [Article 78]The 10 Most Important Things They Didn’t Teach You In School

    By the time you’re 30, you’ll be hit with the crushing truth of just how much the grownups didn’t teach you when you were in school. And, while liberals and conservatives haggle over whether public schools need more funding or more lessons on the Ten Commandments, we think all can agree there are some very basic, useful things that our children really, really should know.

    Therefore when Cracked starts its line of private schools, know that your kids won’t graduate without having passed…



    Sex Ed (for Girls): How to Spot a Douchebag

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    Young ladies, you’re in your teens now and already you have no doubt run into some guys who are being suspiciously nice to you. Likely you have figured out that in many cases, this has nothing to do with them being nice guys and everything to do with them desperately wanting you to touch their boner.

    What you may not realize is that over the next few years, a string of rejections will cause many of these men to start hating you. Some of them hate you already, because they grew up hating their mothers and it kind of carries over. Boys are like that.

    Now, some of these men will then become members of the Pick Up Artist Community, also known as the Seduction Community. This is a loose club of guys who see females as a collection of walking masturbation aids. They have websites and seminars and chat rooms where they trade tips on how to manipulate you into having sex with them.

    They believe the male/female relationship is adversarial in nature, and that sex is a way of conquering you. Thus many of their techniques work by playing on your insecurities, like “the Neg,” where they first engage you in conversation, then drop subtle criticisms that will undermine your self-esteem and subconsciously make you want to gain their approval (by letting them touch your boobs). Believe it or not, it works–if you’re not ready for it.

    This is just one type of douchebag; this class will cover several varieties. And, while we’re not telling you not to sleep with these men, the lesson you will learn from this course is that they will put the same effort into making you happy as they do the semen-encrusted sock under their bed.

    Chapters Include:

    I. Types of Douchebag;
    II. How to Tell When He’s Lying;
    III. Why Your Male Friends Almost Certainly Want to Have Sex With You;
    IV. Why There is Nothing to be Gained by Showing Your
     Boobs to a Camera.




    Sex Ed (for Boys): Why Porn is Not a Good Way to Learn About Sex

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    Young men, you’re in your teens now and that means already you’ve seen several thousand hours of Internet porn. Many of you will soon engage in your first sexual encounter, having no practical instruction to guide you beyond those videos.

    Unfortunately, what you see on PornTube represents only what certain men wish sex was like. We’re not saying that you’ll never meet a woman who enjoys, say, having semen squirted into her eyes, or having sex on camera with five strangers in the back of a decorated van. What we’re saying is that just about everything you see in those videos–including the ones that claim to be hidden camera or “reality” porn–is there specifically because real women are not like that. These videos fill a gap between fantasy and reality.

    So how do you figure out what to do when you’re finally alone with a lady? Well, we can give you the basics, but the rest will be up to you.

    Chapters Include:

    I. It’s a Vagina, Not a Slab of Meat You’re Trying to Tenderize;
    II. Your Penis Size is Probably Perfectly Fine;
    III. Why Your First Time is Going to be a Humiliating Disaster, No Matter What You Do;
    IV. Most Women Are Not Sexually Stimulated by Spanking;
    V. Every Woman is Different and You Will Only Learn What She Likes Via Practice;
    VI. That’s OK, Because the Practice is Awesome.




    Phys. Ed: Practical Self-Defense

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    We’re calling this course “Practical Self-Defense” but a more accurate title would be, “How To Get Away From Somebody Who is Trying to Mug or Rape You.” Yes, “Get Away.” Some of you guys who grew up on The Matrix still fantasize about beating the shit out of a street full of thugs in a fight that looks like a choreographed dance. This class will not teach you how to do that. No class will teach you how to do that.

    Oh, there are guys out there capable of kicking ass. They’re called criminals. They’re good at fighting because they have poor impulse control and anger management, and thus are constantly getting into fights. If you, on the other hand, are going to be civilized and successful parents and homeowners and taxpayers, the odds are overwhelming you will not ever be good at fighting. This fact is thus reflected in our curriculum.

    Chapters Include:

    I. Why Your Wallet is Not Worth Dying For;
    II. Why Guns and Knives Are Not Awesome (Includes Visual Aids Depicting Wounds of Gnarled Strips of Exposed Fat, Tendons and Skin, Plus Graphic Descriptions of Life in a Wheelchair);
    III. How to Break Off an Argument With a Hobo Before He Stabs You;
    IV. Why You Can’t Reason With a Screaming Drunk;
    V. Why Believing Action Movies Are Real Will Get You Killed;
    VI. How to Tell When That Guy Walking Toward You is Concealing a Weapon.


    Industrial Arts: Emergency Repairs

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    This does not require a great deal of elaboration. Quite simply, there are certain things a person who is about to be living on their own needs to know how to do.

    Building a goddamned birdhouse is not one of them.

    Chapters Include:

    I. How to Patch and Paint a Wall So You Can Get Your Deposit Back From Your Landlord;
    II. Identifying Which Wires in Your House Will Kill You if You Touch Them;
    III. What to do When You Wake Up to Find Your Toilet/Refrigerator/Hot Water Heater/Air Conditioner/Sink is Puking Water Onto Your Floor;
    IV. When to Call the Repair Guy;
    V. How to Figure Out if the Repair Guy is Screwing You;
    VI. Foreign Objects You’re Going to Try to Put in the Microwave at Some Point so Let’s Just Get it Out of Your System Now.




    Business: Success = Meeting the Right People

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    All of those successful people you see around town, with their convertibles and huge televisions? Approximately 100 percent of them got where they are because they had three things. All three are absolutely essential, but one of them is almost never mentioned. They are:

    * Talent
    * Hard Work
    * Randomly Meeting the Right People and Not Pissing Them Off

    The autobiographies of famous people will do everything they can to downplay that third part, because it has the element of sheer luck. People get offended when you mention it, because they think it somehow undermines the first two. But remember, we said you need all three.

    For instance, let’s take maybe the most successful movie actor of all time, Harrison Ford. He farted around Hollywood for nine years, taking bit parts without anything major ever coming his way. Clearly talented, very hard-working. Yet not once did anybody look at him and say, “This guy will sell several billion dollars’ worth of tickets and action figures some day!” He was just another ambitious, pretty face, in a city full of them. He got so fed up, he quit acting and became a carpenter.

    Then one day he got hired to install cabinets in the home of a guy named George Lucas. They became friends. That got him the role of Han Solo a few years later. Click the link; that’s a true story.

    Decades earlier another Ford, Henry, was just one of many engineers screwing around with early car engine designs until he became friends with a wealthy businessman named Alexander Malcomson who forked over the money to get Ford Motor Company started. This also works for guys not named Ford; Justin Bieber was one of several hundred thousand teenagers singing on YouTube videos before a former record exec named Scooter Braun clicked on one of his videos by accident and got him a record deal.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you have guys like Edgar Allan Poe, whose legendary poem “The Raven” earned him… nine dollars. He burned so many bridges he wound up basically begging the public for money before dying at 40.

    At some point Poe probably met his George Lucas, but made such a horrible impression on him the guy wouldn’t return his calls.

    Chapters include:

    I. First Impressions are Really Important;
    II. Subsequent Impressions Are Also Important;
    III. No, You’re Not Terrell Owens (aka Why Acting Like a Douchebag is a Bad Investment).

    Classes continued on the following page…

    Health: How to Stop Throwing Your Money Away on Snake Oil

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    Go to the drug aisle in your grocery store. In between the pills and the vitamins will be a huge shelf full of herbal supplements that promise to do everything from helping you lose weight to easing joint pain to making your brain work better.

    And it’s all bullshit. All of it.

    Worse, it’s bullshit that we spend $34 billion a year on, almost a third as much as we spend on prescription drugs that actually do something.

    Just to be clear: Scientists have spent billions in government money carefully testing the effectiveness of this stuff. Their results? No, echinacea can’t cure your cold. Gingko doesn’t do anything for your brain, glucosamine and chondroitin won’t fix your arthritis. Hoodia gordonii won’t help you lose weight.

    Don’t get us wrong; we completely realize that lots of the drugs we have now were once naturally occurring in plants and that it is therefore possible that out there, somewhere, is a leaf yet undiscovered by science that will cure your diabetes. But if so, these jerkoffs in the grocery aisle aren’t going to be the ones who find it.

    They’re scam artists.

    They’re so sure their supplements don’t do anything they don’t do any actual quality control to track how much of the supplement is in each pill. They just throw a little bit in there and shrug. Aren’t they worried about people accidentally overdosing? No, they’re not. They know you can’t overdose on a placebo.

    All they’re doing is “curing” ailments that either naturally go away on their own (colds, joint pain) so you wind up falsely attributing the relief to the supplement, or they’re claiming to cure conditions that are hard to quantify (see supplements for “alertness” or “stress relief”). Snake oil salesmen have been getting away with that technique for thousands of generations.

    Students, we’re counting on you to make sure that ours is the last.

    Chapters Include:

    I. Pharmaceutical Companies Are Dicks, But at Least They Use Scientists;
    II. Why Hippies Have Never Discovered a Single Disease Cure;
    III. “Homeopathic” is Another Word for Voodoo Bullshit;
    IV. Just Go See a Doctor You Big Baby.

    NOTE: Weight Loss supplements will be explored in-depth in…



    Health: Why Losing Weight Requires Some Amount of Suffering

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    First of all, know that some people are naturally thin. They often skip meals just because they forgot to eat, and/or enjoy hobbies that involve burning calories as a byproduct–basketball, cycling, whatever. They’ll never be fat and they’ll never have to think about it. They’re excused from this class.

    This course is for the rest of you, who will spend your life fatter than what our society considers ideal, and who will forever be uncomfortable in your own skin as a result. You’ll spend many dollars on bullshit exercise equipment that promises to make working out “easy.” You’ll jump on diet fads, eating a bunless hamburger with a knife and fork one week, eating nothing but cabbage soup the next.

    Each and every one of these will fail (the success rate for dieters over the long term is close to 0 percent) because they’re all based on the utterly false premise that you can lose weight without ever feeling sore or hungry or some other negative sensation. It is not possible.

    Students, imagine that in front of you is a castle. That’s where you want to be. But surrounding that castle is a moat, full of piranha. The only way to get into Sexy Abs Castle is to swim across the moat and let the little fish painfully chew off hunks of fat. The real situation is exactly like that, only the swim will take years.

    Your body will get really mad at you when you try to lose weight, because it thinks you’re starving to death. You have to go into any weight loss plan knowing that you will suffer, and just have to man up in preparation for it. Otherwise, just live with it. Being fat isn’t the end of the goddamned world.

    Chapters Include:

    I. Hunger is Fat Leaving the Body;
    II. Eating Three Square Meals a Day Will Absolutely Make You Fat if You Sit in a Chair All Day;
    III. Have You Considered Walking Instead of Driving;
    IV. How to Dress in Ways That De-Emphasize Your Fatness.

    NOTE: The above class is a prerequisite for…



    Home Economics: How to Cook Cheap Food That Won’t Kill You

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    Most of you will gain weight in college. You’ll be poor, and cheap food makes you fat, as adding salt and fat is the easiest way to make poor quality food taste good. Ramen noodles, Taco Bell burritos, six-dollar pizzas from Papa John’s… all of it is dirt cheap, and all contains way more calories than you’re going to burn while sleeping through classes and playing Guitar Hero.

    Fortunately, there are ways around this if you’re willing to put in a little time. As it turns out, spices are also cheap, as are some meats, and dried pasta, and vegetables. You just have to combine them the right way. But no matter what you come up with, it would be extremely difficult to cook something as unhealthy as a Quarter-Pounder Value Meal.

    Chapters Include:

    I. Pay Attention to Serving Sizes on the Label, They’re Laughably Small;
    II. Fat Free Versions of Fat Foods Are Terrible, Don’t Bother;
    III. Seriously, Fat Free Cheese Doesn’t Melt;
    IV. It’s Hard to Screw Up Spaghetti;
    V. Why if You Eat Fruity Pebbles for Dinner, You’ll be Hungry Again 30 Minutes Later;
    VI. If You Make a Pot of Chili and Freeze Bowls of It You’ll Totally Have Like Two Months’ Worth of Meals There.




    Political Science: Why Talk Radio is a Terrible Source of Information

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    Politics are boring, and for the 20 percent or so of you who will spend a lot of time following politics, many of you will do so via entertaining political talk shows on radio or cable.

    Now, we don’t have time to go into the mind-boggling list of idiotic things Glenn Beck has said, and will not laboriously debunk the rantings of the hundreds of other political talk show hosts like him. What you need to understand is that with talk radio and TV, the format itself makes accuracy utterly impossible. It’s fairly simple, really. If a political talk show is going to get ratings, it has to have two things in every episode:

    A. A clear, simple thesis (ie, Liberals Are Destroying America, Corporations Are Destroying America) that continues through every single segment;
    B. Up to the minute commentary on current events.

    You see the problem: These two things are going to sometimes conflict.

    Even if the thesis of a show is Pie is Awesome, the host is still going to wake up one day and see headlines about a pie recall because some tainted filling killed 173 people. Guess what: he still has to do a show that day about why Pie is Awesome. He will manipulate B to make it fit A, even if he has to lie. He doesn’t draw a paycheck otherwise.

    Likewise, if the big headline tomorrow is that Barack Obama single-handedly fought and slew Lucifer, Glenn Beck still has to do a show about how Obama is an Anti-Christian Communist out to destroy America. That’s what his show is about; that’s what the listeners tune in for, that’s what his advertisers paid for. If he doesn’t follow through, his audience will simply turn the dial until they find someone who’s willing to tell them what they want to hear.

    So, because a talk show has to, by necessity, sometimes skew or outright lie about current events in order to maintain the entertainment value of their show, trying to learn about current events by listening to a talk show is like learning physics by watching cartoons.

    Chapters Include:

    I. If the Host Compares His Opponents to Communists or Nazis, He is Crazy;
    II. Why Politics Cannot be Simplified;
    III. If the Host Uses Derisive Nicknames for His Opponents, He Has Nothing to Teach You.




    Social Studies: Life is Hard and You Will Die, Get Over It

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    We’re not foolish enough to think one semester of this course can deprogram years of Hollywood bullshit. That’s why we make this a daily class, that continues from K through 12.

    Many of you will get very depressed in your 20s, and some of you will stay that way the rest of your lives. Over the years your garage band will break up, you career dream will fall through, a girl will break your heart, you’ll be unhappy with your body, you’ll lose your parents, your favorite pet will die, you will endure at least one very terrible injury that requires hospitalization and breaks new boundaries for what kind of pain you thought was possible.

    The reason why this will lead to depression, where it may not have done so for an equivalent person 200 years ago, is because you were raised on illogical stories where things always work out for the main character for utterly arbitrary reasons. Han Solo can shoot straight, but none of the bad guys can–even though they train more. John McClane beats the terrorists because he has toughness and perseverance–something the bad guys lack, even though they should be equally desperate. If a guy and a girl are right for each other, they always wind up together, careers and geography and personal hang-ups be damned.

    Here’s the problem: these fantasies were created by adults, as a means of escape from the real world. You, however, have been watching them since you were five–for most of us these were our first impressions of how the adult world works, even if on a subconscious level. You had no context to realize they were bullshit. It sounds frivolous, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of you reading this will not survive the long process of learning how different the real world is.

    If it helps, try to remember that you’re still one of the one percent of humanity that was born in a time and place where there is such a thing as anesthesia.

    Chapters Include:

    I. You Can Die at Any Moment, Get Over It;
    II. Required Reading:
     The Road, by Cormac McCarthy;
    III. Roleplay Exercise: Various Scenes from
     The Road, by Cormac McCarthy;
    IV. Yes, It Takes
     10,000 Hours to Get Really Good at Something, But At Least You’re Not Scavenging Through a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland.


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  • [Article 76]10 Subjects That Should Be Taught At School

    The current “core curricula” of public schools in the US are comprised of the following subjects: (sciences) biology, physics, chemistry; (mathematics) arithmetic, algebra, pre-calculus, basic statistics; (language) literature, humanities, composition, foreign languages; (social sciences) history, government, economics, basic political science; (physical education) baseball, basketball, football, general exercise

    Here are ten other subjects that all students from the ages of six to eighteen should be required to study:


    Fiction Writing

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    Ask any elementary school student, and he or she will affirm that making up stories is fun.  And since Stephen King is quite wealthy from doing so, education and practice in fiction composition is not irrelevant to society.  College students across all majors admit that fiction writing courses, whether electives or required, are among their very favorite. After all, you finally get to write what you want to write, not some tedious, insipid essay about how Holden Caulfield is some brooding intellectual, an essay thoroughly devoid of anything interesting precisely because your teachers require you to examine the facts and draw your conclusions like a robot.

    Hamlet can teach us a wealth about morality, human nature, existentialism, and politics.  Shakespeare is showing us what happens if we give free rein to vengeance: our whole lives and those of all who are close to us are destroyed.  When students in high school finish reading Hamlet—provided they have good teachers who can help them understand and appreciate it—most of them are sufficiently enthralled to try writing fiction—as well they should be.  But most of them give up when their first stories turn out to be less great than those of Shakespeare.  This is not due to middling talent, but an absence of instruction in fiction writing.



    Applied Mechanics (Inventing)

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    Why not?  Students are typically thought of as having naturally gifted minds for either liberal arts or math—but rarely both together.  That’s probably not true, however.  Pure mathematics prompts the liberal arts-minded to ask, “What in the world is the point?”  In public school, students aren’t forced very often to apply mathematics to their daily lives.  Those word problems about Trains A and B leaving the station don’t help at all.  So let’s talk calculus: why is it such a great thing to know?

    This will sound ridiculously ironic, but Newton and Leibniz invented calculus as a means of making geometric and algebraic operations easier.  Johannes Kepler plotted the courses of the sun and the planets, and hypothesized that a sort of weight must hold them in orbits around each other.  It took him about twenty years to do this, largely by watching the night sky through a telescope.  Newton did all this in a single afternoon—thanks to calculus.

    Calculus, as it should be taught, is the study of change with the aim of predicting it.  Sounds a little cooler that way, doesn’t it?  You can predict the future with calculus.  But what could be more dull than algebra and pre-calculus in high school?  Not much, if the teaching is conducted entirely theoretically. It would be a fine idea to give the students some hands-on experience inventing gadgets—using technology for what it does well, instead of merely learning about it on a chalkboard.  Who wouldn’t want to invent a time machine?  “Can’t be done,” you say?  Well, it can still be a lot of fun trying, and in the process you’ll enjoy seeing just what the higher mathematics are capable of doing.




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    Many public schools do offer drama classes as electives—but these usually focus on stage performance.  As important as it is for any serious actor to know how to act in live shows, many of these students would very much like to try their hands at making motion pictures, yet don’t have an outlet for it.

    A lot of high school students would love to be directors, and most of them idolize Steven Spielberg.  He’s about as close to god as you can get in Tinsel Town.  Spielberg did not formally study filmmaking until college.  But imagine how much faster he would have progressed in his filmmaking abilities, had he been able to receive instruction in middle or high school.  

    To be fair, geniuses of his caliber are typically self-taught—but proper instruction from a good teacher, along with diligent study, are far more reliable and desirable than raw talent and trial and error.  For the mere mortals among us, enrolling in a filmmaking class in middle or high school is the most logical choice if we wish to pursue the dream.  Such enrollment also offers us a fair chance of getting noticed by any of the bigwig connections the instructor may have.




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    Forget Spanish.  Forget French.  Spanish is particularly important to learn, but students have plenty of time to do that in college—and frankly, the amount of linguistic instruction they receive in high school doesn’t really prepare them for a collegiate education in that language.  This lister chose French in high school because it sounded more beautiful—but by the time college rolled around, he had forgotten about eighty percent of it.  When he took College French level one, the first half of the course was effectively a refresher of high school.  So is it a waste of time trying to learn a language before college?

    Not necessarily.  Latin is bit more difficult than French or Spanish, but not by much.  Of all the Romance languages, Italian is probably the trickiest—but if you’ve got a good foundation on Latin, any other Romance language will be a walk in the park.

    This lister didn’t bother going back to French in college until he had four years of Latin behind him.  Then he needed only one summer to master reading and writing French.  Speaking it, of course, requires listening to it for a few years, but once you reach that point it’ll be locked in very well.  So if the goal in learning foreign languages is to master as many as possible, why not start on one of the largest foundations available?



    Multi-Religious Theology

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    No, the lister isn’t looking for controversy on this one (hence, the word “multi-religious”).  But many of us—whether still in public school or college, or out working for a living—remain in the dark about the finer points of most of the world’s major religions. Many of us would be hard-pressed to point out a New Testament verse against homosexuality, for example (it turns out there are three—and a possible fourth.)

    If we are to have long, heated debates about the merits of this or that religion, or of having no religion, it is only fair that we should familiarize ourselves with the ins and outs of each—and we should do this in depth.  Who do Shintoists worship?  And why?  What are the founding tenets of Satanism?  If religion is such an integral and insoluble aspect of our species, it would be better if we understood the content of as many as we can learn.



    The History of Philosophy

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    We must be realistic about how much complexity and abstraction teenage students can be expected to digest and comprehend.  In most schools, only one Shakespeare play per year is typical; the diction is too difficult and the literature too heavy to permit a full understanding of A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Othello in a single semester.

    Philosophy—complex as its ideas may sometimes be—is very important and relevant to our daily lives.  But it isn’t dwelled upon much at all in public school, most likely because the teachers don’t really understand it.  Nevertheless, a fairly brief history of philosophy’s progression is certainly pertinent to life today.  It will, at the very least, give the student a profound respect for the glory that was Ancient Greece.

    All of Western politics, as well as a large portion of its history, can be traced back to geniuses like Zeno, the Seven Sages, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  Eastern philosophy incorporates Confucius, Gautama, Mozi, Sun Tzu, and many others, all highly significant.  To learn the history of philosophical thought, the student cannot avoid learning just a little about each school of it; and almost all new ideas are built on the backs of the old ones.




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    Public schools in the US require “physical education,” which simply means forcing the students to exercise for a little while on a daily basis.  But the sports to which they’re treated vary considerably: dodgeball, basketball, track and field, calisthenics, and so on.  They are not required to learn all the rules of basketball; they just have to take their place in the group (sometimes being chosen last) and run around for an hour or so.

    Those who wish to really learn basketball can try out for the team, but they’re not likely to be accepted unless they’ve already developed the necessary skills. Sport (as opposed to P.E.) is not a requirement of many curriculums, but if students had to play at least one sport during middle school and high school, they would all become much more physically fit—and happier at the prospect of not being chosen last.



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    Most of us are at least vaguely aware of the moves of the game, while those with any impressive aptitude for it number perhaps 150,000 in the United States.  There are only about 1,000 International Grandmasters in the world. Chess organizations, like the US Chess Federation, or the International Federation of Chess (FIDE), employ rating systems to show a player’s approximate skill level.  The average novice plays at about 500, while the average veteran tournament player might be rated anywhere from 1000 to 2200.  Grandmasters must be rated 2500 or more at least once to get the title.  These days, the world champions are usually rated around 2800.

    Above are plenty of examples of what makes chess fun—in particular, the possibility of feeling a sense of constant improvement—but they leave out the most important one: chess is a great tool for exercising the mind.  The regular and serious chess players almost always perform better on tests inany subject area, because they’re used to sitting patiently, looking for the right answer, and especially thinking critically.

    When you lose at chess, you have only yourself to blame—and provided that they have a good instructor, students between the tender ages of five to eighteen can find in chess an excellent source of humility, duty, responsibility, and fair play; in short, chess enables them to mature much faster.




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    Not just good music—like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven—but all the way down to Justin Bieber, if that’s what you want.  To be proficient in musical history is of prime importance.  Music is already taught in public schools, but it isn’t required.  It’s an elective, and sadly, it’s often the first subject on the curriculum to be cut when money is tight.  But what is the purpose of learning to read and write if you aren’t given anything to read or write about?  In history class, you may get a single paragraph or just a sentence about Beethoven—perhaps even a picture—but no attention is paid to what “sonata-allegro form” means.  Most high school students graduate knowing loads about WWII, and virtually nothing about Rachmaninoff.

    The problem, of course, is that you can’t really teach music without making the student perform it.  You don’t learn to play the violin by reading a manual, and you don’t become truly familiar with exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda until you’ve listened to many examples of it.  Only then will students appreciate the complexities involved in its composition.  



    Martial Arts

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    This is set apart from sports in general, since we think of sports in public schools as consisting of baseball, basketball, football, track and field, and so on.  But martial arts should be taught not as a regular sport, but as a means of self-defense.  It would certainly put a stop to bullying.  Most fights these days go the bullies’ way, since they are almost always bigger and stronger; that’s why they’re bullies.

    And some of the bullied outcasts—whether nerds, goths, or generally “unsociable”—resort to firearms, in order to give themselves some desperately needed relief from the agony of bullying.  The real shame in all this is that fighting a larger, stronger person really isn’t that difficult.  You just have to know how to do it—and anyone can learn anything, given the time.  The first step to winning a fight is to attain confidence in oneself.  With confidence comes that magic knowledge of when name-calling has gone far enough.  But you won’t attain that confidence until you know how to fight.

    Unfortunately, many of the jerks we have to put up with also learn martial arts, just to be even crueler.  But martial arts are a great equalizer, and they also tend to have the effect of reducing, rather than increasing, the violent impulses in children. We should therefore consider starting lessons while the students are still in elementary school.


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  • [Article 74]Top 5 Most Difficult Subjects To Understand

    Although the learning process has been a hot topic of various sciences, including neuroscience, psychology, pedagogy and the learning theory, the truth is that humankind has yet to discover the full array of factors involved. For the time being, learning is defined as a process that implies constantly altering the existing skills, behaviors and information by synthesizing and acquiring new types of information.

    Simple as it may sound, it is necessary to mention that people know only a low percentage of the info and about the facts present in the world and most of the knowledge is attained via the subjects we study. And, as you probably know or remember from school, some subjects are more difficult to comprehend than others. Following is a list of the hardest subjects to understand.

    1. Quantum physics

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    The first attempts to understand physical phenomenon at a microscopic scale can be traced back to the 17th century to Christian Huygens and his inquiry on the wave nature of light. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that quantum physics was defined by Albert Einstein. An advanced branch of physics, the quantum theory tries to understand reality at a microscopic scale, making it confusing and puzzling overall. In fact, the high level of mathematics and physics involved in comprehending this science can even confuse modern scientists who employ it in the finest real time applications.

    2. Thermodynamics

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    If you are curious about the motion of substances on our planet, then you should look no further than thermodynamics, the subjects that explains the rules and implications of heat transfer. Even though thermodynamics is based on three basic rules and their applications, which on a side note most students understand relatively quickly, the other topics such as the elemental properties of materials, cycles and particularly the entropy related topics are not very simple.

    3. Rocket science

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    Even though it is generically dubbed rocket science, the subject integrates a plethora of concepts from other fields of study. In fact, it is impossible to study or understand the basic notions in this field without a solid knowledge of mathematics and physics. In addition, let’s not forget that you need to fully comprehend aerospace, travelling in outer space, fuel chemistry and many other without being able to put your knowledge into practice. This is perhaps why you should expect a considerably higher rate of failure than success if you want to study and understand this subject.

    4. Electromagnetic field theory

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    Granted, you won’t come across or have to be tested on your knowledge in electromagnetic field theory unless you decide to take electronics 101 in college. Even in the situation where the subject is taught to knowledgeable students, true comprehension still requires the ability to imagine things in 3D, not to mention the plethora of proof that validates Maxwell’s equations.

    5. Anatomy

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    Anatomy or studying the parts of the human body in detail can be classified as one of the most interesting subjects you can actually learn, unless of course you are a medicine student. While for the vast majority of people anatomy implies simply knowing some general aspects regarding the human body, for future physicians and medical specialists the subject is all about memorizing a lot of data regarding every single bone, muscle and nerve as well as their branches and divisions.


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  • [Article 73]Fun Facts About School

    There are a lot of fun back to school facts, such as which state has the largest gymnasiums in their schools, and how much money teachers make on average. The following is a look at some fun school facts that can make back to school more interesting:

    Fact one: People who work in schools do not get paid very well. This is no secret, but it is a fun fact for kids to know that bus drivers tend to make about $16.56 an hour on average, cafeteria workers $11.60, and custodians about $14.20. Of course, principles and teachers make more than this. On average in the US teachers make about $50,758, and principals earned $97,486 for public schools in the US.


    Fact two: People may not love school, but lots of people go to school. In fact, over 78 million kids, teens, and adults enroll in school each year. There are over 7.2 million teachers not to mention aides and other school staff to help meet the needs of public education.


    Fact three: Schools greatly vary in size. The largest high school in America has about 8,000 students. It is a co-op, and the East Campus has 6,000 students. It is Morton High School, and is found in Illinois.


    Fact four: School has changed over time. Some of the most significant changes have to do with who goes to school, and how much schooling people get. Until reformers like Horace Mann of Massachusetts and Henry Barnard of Connecticut began to push for tax-funded schools only the very wealthy ever got an education. In the 1840s the belief that universal education would improve society by producing better citizens, unite society, prevent crime and end poverty helped take Thomas Jefferson’s ideas of education and put them into place. However, even after that, it wasn’t until the 1930s that people got more education then about eight years. Some people got higher education, but High School did not exist until the Great Depression. During this time, the job-strapped communities decided it would be to their advantage to keep teenagers in class and out of the workforce where they would be a low-cost competition to adults.

    Fact five: People move and change schools. This is one of the reasons curriculums are somewhat standardized, over 26% of elementary age kids change schools at least once, and 42% of 12-17 year olds do. So, in order to fill in gaps, and make sure that you can switch schools without big holes in your education there are standard things taught each year.

    A few other fun facts that have to do with school are as follows:

    • Indiana has 9 of the 10 largest high school gyms in America.
    • In California, 45% of kids enrolled in school speak something other than English at home.
    • 6% if kids age 6-11 repeat a grade at least once.
    • 11% of kids 12-17 repeat at least once grade.
    • 67% of kids like school.
    • The average college student pays over $14,000 a year in tuition and books.


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  • [Article 72]Back to School Fun Facts

    Each year kids go back to school; here are just a few fun facts about education and back to school that you can share with them:

    Fun Fact One: The largest high school in America has over 8,000 students. It is Morton High School in Berwyn-Cicero, Ill. The East Campus has over 6,000 students, and it is a co-op high school.


    Fun Fact Two: The average salary for public school elementary and middle school and high school teachers in 20808 was $50,758, and for principals in the same year, the average salary earned was $97,486. There are close to 8 million teachers in the US.


    Fun Fact Three: There are over 7.4 million teachers, and 2.9 million work at elementary and middle schools.


    Fun Fact Four: School bus drivers are usually paid an hourly wage, and the national average wage is $16.56. A custodian is also paid hourly and makes about $14.16 on average, and a cafeteria worker’s average salary in the US is $11.60.


    Fun Fact Five: Indiana has 9 of the top ten largest high school gymnasiums in America.


    Fun Fact Six: Each year, over 78.8 million kids, teens, and

    adults enroll in school.


    Fun Fact Seven: There are over 31 millions kids enrolled in school lunch programs in the US.


    Fun Fact Eight: In California, about 45% of children enrolled in kindergarten through 12th speak a language other than English at home.


    (Not so) Fun Fact Nine: 6% of kids age 6-11 repeat at least one grade in school. 11% of kids aged 12-17 repeat at least one grade of school.


    Fun Fact Ten: A fair number of kids switch schools at some point in their life not counting the normal progression from elementary to middle school and middle to highschool. In fact from age 6-11, over 26% switch schools, and ages 12-17 42% switch school.


    Fun Fact Eleven: 67% of kids like school.


    Fun Fact Twelve: The oldest public school in the US was founded in 1635, and 5 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence graduated from this school, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Samuel Adams and William Hopper. It is Boston’s Latin School.


    Fun Fact Thirteen: Even though Thomas Jefferson was all for free public education, and tried to promote it, only America’s wealthy were able to get an elementary school education until the 1840s when Horace Mann and Henry Barnard and other reformers tried to get tax-funded schools. They did this because they thought that if they had schools paid for by taxes, more people would attend, and this spread of education would help produce better citizens, unite the societies, and prevent much crime and poverty. It turns out that in a large part they were right.


    Fun Fact Fourteen: High school was not really a part of school until the 1930s. Before that most Americans only completed eight years of school. Why was that and what changed it? Well, during the Great Depression, there were many communities that had little work to offer, and they figure that keeping teenagers in the classrooms would keep them out of the work force, thus reducing the competition for many adults who required higher pay than a teen would.



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  • [Article 71]11 Facts About Education in America

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    1. Our nation’s education assessment is largely derived from graduation rate. Every year, only 69 percent of American high school seniors earn their diploma.
    2. Thirty years ago, America was the leader in quantity and quality of high school diplomas. Today, our nation is ranked 18th out of 23 industrialized countries.
    3. Each year, 1.3 million high school students fail to graduate on time.
    • The states with the highest graduation rates (80-89 percent) are Wisconsin, Iowa, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
    • The states with the lowest graduation rates (less than 60 percent) are Nevada, New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina.
    1. The 6 million high schoolers in the bottom 25 percent of their class are 20 times more likely to drop out than their peers in the top 25 percent.
    2. If the 1.3 million dropouts from the Class of 2010 had graduated, the nation would have seen $337 billion more in earnings over the course of the students’ lifetimes.
    3. Approximately 6 million students grades 7 through 12 are struggling to read at grade-level. Among the highest, 70 percent of 8th graders read below the standard.
    4. Teacher quality is one of the most significant factors related to student achievement. In the U.S., 14 percent of new teachers resign by the end of their first year, 33 percent leave within their first 3 years, and almost 50 percent leave by their 5th year.
    5. In the workplace, 85 percent of current jobs and 90 percent of new jobs require some or more college or postsecondary education.
    6. Roughly half of the students who enter a 4-year school will receive a bachelor’s degree within 6 years.
    7. In schools made up of 75 percent or more low-income students, there are triple the number of out-of-field teachers than in wealthier school districts.
    8. High schools are not preparing students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel after graduation. Only 1 in 4 high school students graduate college-ready in the four core subjects of English, reading, math, and science.


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  • [Article 70]9 Educational Facts You Probably Don’t Know

    It’s the weekend. That means it’s time to relax, unwind, and learn something. In that vein, I thought it might be fun to recap one of my favorite posts of all time from Buzzfeed. They compiled a lengthy list of facts that will ‘blow your mind’ and I wanted to share both the post and some of my favorites.

    What follows are 10 factoids that I didn’t know but feel a teensy bit smarter for now knowing. I hope you also feel similarly enhanced thanks to the following facts. Enjoy!

    1.      The “YKK” on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha:”

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    2.      3.14 is PIE backwards:

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    3.      Cashews grow like this:

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    4.      Pineapples grow like this:

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    5. Here’s what velcro looks like close up:

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    6. Here’s what chalk looks like under a microscope:

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    7. Here’s what sand looks like under a microscope:

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    8. A Blue Whale’s heart is so big, a small child can swim through the veins:

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    9. There’s enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in one foot of water:

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  • [Article 69]11 Facts About Education Around the World

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    1. As of 2012, 31 million primary-school pupils worldwide dropped out of school. An additional 32 million repeated a grade.
    2. In the sub-Saharan, 11.07 million children leave school before completing their primary education. In South and West Asia, that number reaches 13.54 million.
    3. While girls are less likely to begin school, boys are more likely to repeat grades or drop out altogether.
    4. According to UNESCO, 61 million primary school-age children were not enrolled in school in 2010.
    • Of these children, 47 percent were never expected to enter school, 26 percent attended school but left, and the remaining 27 percent are expected to attend school in the future.
    1. Children living in a rural environment are two times more likely to be out of school than urban children. Additionally, children from the wealthiest 20 percent of the population are four times more likely to be in school than the poorest 20 percent.
    2. In developing, low-income countries, every additional year of education can increase a person’s future income by an average of 10 percent.
    3. Children who are born to educated mothers are less likely to be stunted or malnourished. Each additional year of maternal education also reduces the child mortality rate by 2 percent.
    4. Women with a primary school education are 13 percent more likely to know that condoms can reduce their risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. An education can help decrease the spreading of this virus by promoting safer sexual practices.
    5. 53 percent of the world’s out-of-school children are girls and two-thirds of the illiterate people in the world are women.
    6. Education empowers women to make healthy decisions about their lives. For example, women in Mali with a secondary level education or higher have an average of 3 children, while those with no education have an average of 7.
    7. The youth literacy rates in South America and Europe are among the highest with 90-100 percent literacy. The African continent, however, has areas with less than 50 percent literacy among children ages 18 and under.


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