4 Things That Should Be Taught In School

11 min readMar 6, 2022


Being an adult now, well beyond middle and higher education, my perspective has shifted on a lot of things. My mind’s a long way from back then. And I can feel the distance. The things I learned in school, and what I *thought* I knew about the world and what was important in life, now feels like a distant dream.

Growth through personal experiences, all the learning (and unlearning) on my own via self-motivated educational pursuits to make myself a more well-informed person, finally recognizing the misdirection / propaganda / lies of the media around us — I can only recently say I am confident in my worldview at 28 years old.

Confident in what? Its validity? Its righteousness? Its empathic compassion for what is ‘good and true’ in the world…? Eh, I’m not sure if I could make such declarations. But I am confident that there is much I wish I knew about sooner. I can definitely say there is much more we should have been taught in school as children, to make us better citizens — better people.

{My “worldview” in a nutshell? — I’ve moved beyond dependence on mainstream narratives, media sources and harbor a skepticism of power and a compassion for all people that must work to live. I support power in the hands of the people and oppose authoritarianism, oligarchy, plutocracy; I’d like to live to see a true democracy in America one day. / Translation into wretched American politics: I’m an unabashed Bernie Sanders supporter.}

This list — of ‘the things that I believe should be taught in school’ — could be very long, so I have narrowed it down to 4 main points I am most certain I can communicate the importance of, things I believe are vital to a healthy worldview.

And my use of ‘worldview’ here extends beyond politics and into the realm of what I can only call effective living. A worldview dictates one’s work, thinking, media diet, relationships, investments of time, money, energy — all directing our future to some degree. I’d reckon childhood is foundational to the endeavor of wielding a healthy worldview.

Whether it be public or private education, here I wanted to write about the 4 main things I think should be taught in school for the purpose of effective living based on a more comprehensive worldview. These would apply all over the world, but certainly in America where I have seen such educational deficiencies first-hand.

Please forgive any of my outbursts of self-righteousness that may spawn out of this stream of consciousness (and have already), but I wholeheartedly believe these concepts to be absolutely essential to living well in the modern world. And so, I also believe it to be a crime to leave these things out of the standard education of our young people in this country.

(Oh and to the degree that some of these topics are already being taught in the form of one class or another, great! The title could be re-worded with a *better* added. At any rate, I believe these four topics should be standardized as regular curriculum somewhere in K-12 and beyond, at universities.)

1. Financial Literacy

The importance of money management for young people entering the workforce has been harped on in the media and at university for some years now. And I’m in agreement — mostly because of how needlessly complex and annoying and punitive and ambiguous (and downright draconian) the world of finance can be.

Understanding the importance of saving and investing money from early on in your career — via actions like dollar-cost averaging, utilizing the time value of money — is one thing; but what about simple budgeting, compound interest, credit scores, or how debt can seriously mess up your future? Employment law, the cost of medical coverage, the predatory nature of student loans. How do you compare (and plan for) regional differences in costs of living? What are the historical prospects of a lifetime of wage labor?

Beginning to understand all these concepts, terms, and market-enforced realities are imperative to securing one’s future. Given the vast majority of us are not inheriting immense wealth to live on, every worker must try to build their own wealth from scratch. Without some financial literacy, such a thing is simply not possible in the long run.

The Miracle of Compound Interest — Wealthfront

The pure, hardcore capitalist economy is not going anywhere anytime soon. There are no free lunches. Everyone has to work to pay the bills, to educate themselves, to heal their body or mind, to be a part of the community. One way or another, you will need money to live in this world.

I, like many of my peers coming out of high school, and even college, was not fully prepared for the world in this way. Though not everyone can become wealthy (and some may not even want to), you quickly learn it’s not easy to establish a career that can support you (and a spouse, family, vacation, some nice things, etc.)

Money may indeed be “the root of all evil”, but for now we humans must deal in it. As insufferably boring and evil as some of these conceptions may be to learn about as a 16 year old, it’s unfortunately necessary to know how money works and how one should use it to live.

I believe even learning basic money management skills could go a long way in helping the future youth begin to plan out their life path for stability and success.

2. Media Literacy

The topic of media literacy is much more nuanced and challenging to fully understand, but no less important in my view. For the current generations growing up in the internet age, parsing through our sprawling media environment for useful information is quite a task. Like it or not, ‘the media’ is what critically develops a person’s worldview — politically, economically, interpersonally.

From local news, to mainstream media sources, to cable news, to social media, to commentators and analysts, to historians and *shiver up my spine* political p u n d i t s… the media landscape is massive. And full of bias, propaganda, corruption, motivated reasoning, imperialist incentives, profiteering, advertising, lies.

I believe consuming media with a mind for the truth, and the future of your fellow man, is how humanistic solidarity survives the screens. {but hey, if you just wanna go off grid, mentally, and just avoid the news media, politics, and the madness of modernity I cannot blame you…}

Using media while operating with a consistency of values about what is materially and spiritually important to your own community’s well-being and what you believe our leaders in power *should* be doing and responsible for within society — is nearly impossible without a healthy education.

In my view, the mass media engages in psychological warfare every single day, largely on behalf of governments, corporations, and landowners (i.e. the ruling class) in the pursuit of tacitly controlling the population to the ends they desire. Those ends, for us regular folk: labor, kids, support of a nation’s wars, antagonism to any projects that counter business interests, profit motives, “the market.”

Even when this isn’t necessarily the case, and a source like the Associated Press is just reporting the simple facts, it is true that almost every institution on earth must now seek to have its revenues exceed its expenses in order to stay in existence. That’s late-stage capitalism. This includes the media — and every single node within the grand information network that is the internet.

When the incentive is always clicks, views, ad revenue, subscriptions, or other profit-seeking mechanisms, then the information, by definition, begins to be filtered through such lenses. Controversy and polarity and most importantly — outrage — becomes the master value in the production of all media, for news or entertainment (it’s always both). This influence moves the information away from the truth.

~ Leaders in the early 20th century realized that mass media was the easiest way to manipulate world populations.

Corporations run the news. Mass media is controlled and refined by experts in government to fit narratives that benefit “national interests” (read: ruling classers) at all costs. Major businesses and capitalists whose sole purpose is to accumulate more and more wealth and power influence governmental decision-making to an unfathomably decisive degree.

Every millionaire and billionaire has exponentially more ‘votes’ than any average person.

I hope this doesn’t surprise anyone; ironically, this circumstance should outrage everyone. It means that corporations and oligarchs, here in American and all around the world, are the ones making our laws and constructing our social contracts; and it means we do not really live in a democracy.

Call me a kook but I honestly believe that everything that crosses our screens from major media outlets is pure propaganda.

Critically evaluating all media to understand the motives / incentives / special interests behind the images and words you see on your screens everyday is vital to generating a healthy worldview. And it’s crucial to the beginning of any change to this circumstance.

Analyzing world events — and how they are presented to us by those in power — with a perspective that accounts for history, the likely interests from the source, and your own values — is imperative. It can also help you stay sane.

{All this doesn’t necessarily mean that Chomsky and Herman’s Manufacturing Consent (1988/2003) should become required reading/viewing in every high school classroom… but maybe?}

~ Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media — Feature Film (1992)

As complex of a topic as this can (and should) be, I believe we must teach children how to better think for themselves. In school and otherwise, young people should found their worldviews as much on *values* as perceived facts. Not to discount the facts in any case, but every adult must be operating from a structured way of judging what happens in the world around them. Facts will always be altered as they reach us.

One must employ critical thinking skills at every stage of media consumption, lest you fall victim to manipulative misinformation and cynical, society-dividing narratives.

What do you believe in and why? What does information mean and how should it be used? How should we be spending our time in society? Where does power lie? Is the wealth that our industry generates being used to improve our society? Or is it just being hoarded and wasted and used to exploit even more people…

To be dramatic: Do you wish to at long last live in a democracy forged together through a shared humanity, or will we continue to subsist in a plutocracy that manipulates us into conformity while siphoning the world’s resources unto extinction?

Learning how best to take in information and effectively judge it is a lifelong philosophical process that always involves some degree of skepticism on official narratives. But I think it’s important in more ways than we can truly understand. For the future. For the sanity of people growing up in such an increasingly … mad world, we all need to be able to read and understand propaganda without losing ourselves. From childhood and onward.

3. Mental Health

Mental health must not be ignored any longer, from the youngest of ages. Kids develop complex emotions and social needs as they grow, and they should be able to talk to the people around them at all stages. If our children are comfortable reaching out for help, then future society benefits profoundly.

The nature of that help is open to interpretation, with many avenues likely to turn out effective. Therapy. Hobbies. Companionship. Goals. Ambitions. Mindset training or martial arts. Video games.

Something. Whatever it may be, in this Age of Loneliness, every person will need it. That is — efficacious ways of maintaining our mental health, individually and collectively.

Of course, the role of economic inequality, class position, political power, the amount of time that can be spared from grueling labor… must be strongly considered in an account of our mental health condition.

{And that’s why at every stage, politically speaking, I believe we must work to remedy the material position of the least of us within society via universal healthcare, childcare, college education, housing, etc. Different conversation, however…}

I’m not really qualified to speak on the enormity of this topic of mental health, so I’ll leave it at this. But clearly, it’s important! We should be learning about it in school, from a young age (probably middle/high school, beyond an optional intro to psych 101 course).

4. Relationships

Evaluating your mental health also plays a part in this all important life skill: relationships.

Doubtless, one’s emotional health is likely to be governed by the health of their relationships. How do you relate to the people around you? Your friends, spouse, boss. In both a short and long-term sense, how do you participate in the relationships in your life? Do you have relationships?

What are your prejudices about people that do not look and act like you do?

The knowledge and ability to relate to other people plays into everything from how we work and dream, to how we raise our kids and what we’re ultimately concerned with during our short time in this realm.

A “relationships” class in school could go in any number of directions. But there definitely needs to be some sort of defined mediation from the childish cruelty and ignorance of adolescence into the responsibility and solitude of modern adulthood.

Basic guidance on how to raise kids — on the fact that kids are sovereign beings with destinies of their own, in need of love and direction more than anything — could not hurt anyone.

It’d be likely to turn into a communication class. And why not? Communication is the magic that resolves mentality and relationships.

Perhaps nothing could be more important to learn in school to prepare one for the *real* world than how to communicate, how to listen, and how to treat loved ones and strangers alike with respect.


There it is, the 4 things I believe should be taught in school. Simply put, the education of the future must be better. ~