Convenient Inconveniences- America’s Homework Dilemma

If you were to ask a student attending a high school in America what their least favorite thing about school was, homework would likely always be second on their list right after cafeteria lunches. Now, I know most adults reading this are tired of hearing teenagers complain about having too much homework while their bosses are yelling at them because their project is running behind schedule, but, as a high school student, I will tell you with total honesty that homework is a problem. To justify my vehement opposition towards homework and those who assign too much of it, I will try my best not to use the generic “I don’t wanna do it” and “It takes too long” complaints that so many of my peers love. To begin my rant, I would like to provide you with a fact taken from usnews.com which states that a survey of over 1000 high school teachers across America has found that teachers assign around 3.5 hours of homework per week. I know that, at first, this doesn’t seem so awful, but when you take into account the fact that most high school students have around 5-7 classes, you realize that some kids can find themselves with 24.5 hours of work to be completed outside of school. To put this absurd number into perspective, that’s more than an entire day of homework for every week. Although this is on the high-end of the spectrum, it is still a reality for many kids in America. This is, unsurprisingly, the origin of quite a few problems in the lives of students. Having to do more than three hours of homework per night leaves teenagers with little or no free time, especially if they have some sort of extracurricular activity to pursue (which in most cases, they do).
Assigning preposterous amounts of often needless homework is harmful because it minimizes the students’ time to learn new things on their own. Since the subject of finance is rarely mentioned in American high schools, a teenager may want to devote some of his/her spare time to learning about economics, investing, and other similar matters. However, it is very unlikely that a student will have enough time or will power to investigate these topics or engage in any other sort of activity after having done nearly four hours of homework. This is one of the main motivators for those who willingly dropped out of college to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Just take a moment to think about how flawed the system is if you have to give up on school completely to be able to do any extra work on your own.
One point that I would like to re-address is the lack of finance-related classes available to students in high schools. Sure, kids can go to investing clubs and young entrepreneur camps, but we all know that these never do much. Recently, while I was selecting classes for my upcoming school year, I noticed something strange. On the “course brochure”, there was a section for electives. Of the available electives, over 20 were arts-related (meaning that they had to do with either music, painting, architecture, design, and anything of this sort) while none of them concerned the subject of finance, investing, or business. And this isn’t a problem specific to the school I am attending. Out of all the many high schools I have visited during open houses, shadow visits, and exchange programs, none had a class directly associated with teaching economics. Another striking similarity between all of these high schools is that each and every one of them is infamous for supplying their students with an overabundance of daily homework. Now, what happens when teenagers are taught virtually nothing about finance in school and have no time to learn about finance on their own when they are not in school? We end up with a future generation that is completely uninformed on the subject of economics. A few months ago, we were learning about compound interest and about interest rates (Side Note: This was the only occasion during my three years in middle school where we got somewhat close to learning about economics) and the words “Stock Market” and “Wall Street” came up in our conversation. Almost instantly after these terms appeared, a student asked “What’s a stock market?” I’m not trying to make fun of this person for asking this question. It’s not their fault. The blame is on our defective educational system.
The more time you spend pondering this upsetting subject, the more evident it becomes that most knowledge concerning essentially important matters (such as stock markets and macroeconomics) can only be acquired through self education. What this gives us is a sort of filtration system where only those who are willing to learn on their own and deviate from the traditional educational model can have the opportunity to work with these concealed affairs.
Since there are a lot of things that can be implied and assumed with this topic, I’m just going to leave you with a quote spoken by someone who usually knew what he was talking about:

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

-Henry Ford.

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