What stuff do you wish they taught in school, but don't?

Kind of the opposite of the current thread about pointless stuff you might have learned in school.
Personally I wish they taught personal finance in school. When I was in high school in the late '90s, we had to take some economics courses, but those classes were really just broad overviews of how the stock market worked, history of finance and how interest is calculated.
The latter comes in handy in matters of personal finance, but I would have liked to have learned about how to read the fine print on credit card applications, questions to be asking when buying a house and applying for a mortgage, and what happens when you spend above your means.
I also think we could do a better job of teaching politics. Civics classes cover the basics fairly well. But really, what you learn in school is how the government should work and not how the government actually does work. For this I think Robert A. Caro’s multi-volume bio of LBJ should be required reading. If you want to understand why it’s so hard to pass something like health care reform, even when there’s a lot of support for it, I suggest starting with these books.

I wish someone had shown me how to balance a checkbook.

I also wish my school would have taught more personal finance rather than broad economic theories. I will say though, I had a very good economics teacher in high school that really taught us about the stock market and got us all interested in investing as seniors.

I also think some kind of home economics class should be mandatory. Too many college students rely on ramen and other junk since they have no clue how to cook.

I’m glad to see my kids (grades 5 and 7) learning some basic statistics. I don’t think I had any of that till college.

Also schools were, and probably still are, terrible regarding Canadian history. In school, and thanks to osmosis, I knew more U.S. Presidents than Canadian Prime Ministers.

Ironically, in Jr. High, those of us with the best marks in math were allowed to take an optional class in “practical math”. This went over topics like balancing a chequebook, budgets etc. It was dead easy.
The students who could have used it most were stuck trying to figure out quadratic equations over and over and over again. I imagine that they currently suck at household finances, and have forgotten anything they ever knew about the equations to boot.

Our 7th grade did this stuff really well. Everyone (boys and girls) had to take 1 quarter of each of: Home ec (included cooking and sewing), shop, business / computers (included balancing a checkbook) and something else which escapes me at the moment.

From there, you would know what you wanted to take in 8th grade electives.

Would school students today even know what a chequebook is?

Real sex ed, including birth control and STD prevention by methods other than pretending teenagers aren’t having sex.

critical thought and deductive reasoning (I know they are rather closely related)
I have 15 year old students who seriously dont know how to determine how to give a percentage grade on a 25 question test.

I have one. It’s where I keep track of all my transactions in and out of my checking account. Sometimes I’ll pay by check, sometimes I’ll pay by debit card, it depends on my mood.

Basic investing. How a 401K works, mutual funds, CDs, stocks, etc.

Watching the TV news in the US I get the feeling that that it is assumed that very few viewers have learned anything about microbiology, statistics, rhetoric or reasoning during their schooling. I should think that all of these might be useful before bedtime today .

Well, I’m assuming that at this point you’ve learned how. but I still don’t get this statement. I mean…you add the deposits, subtract the withdrawals and payments…what’s so hard about that?

Of course, this is coming from a guy who writes very few checks (I opened my current account in July of 2004, and I still have the original checks they sent me.) I also don’t keep a checkbook, or balance it or anything. I just keep a rough running total in my head. At any time, I can guess it to within $100, and that’s on a bad day. But I also have only one bank account, and no one else uses it, so it’s a lot easier for me.

Logic and deductive/inductive reasoning. Teach the kids how to think, not just what to think.

The same thing so many are not learning from their parents, either: basic consideration of others. Clearly people need to be taught that they’re not the center of the universe, and things they do can negatively impact other people in a variety of ways that range from merely irritating others to out-right endangering them. Everyone dropped the ball on this, what, 40 years ago?

I would like the phrase “correlation does not equal causation” worked into every class- or at least the science and math classes- and emphasized multiple times in multiple ways. (If anything besides “Could you get me a glass of water?” could be described as my mother’s motto in life, it’s “correlation does not equal causation.”)

Do they not teach this? Granted I was in HS in a blue-state, but we got the basic condoms vs the pill vs whatever several times over the course of various sex-ed and health classes.

We also got a class in personal finance in jr high.

This, and critical thinking as mentioned above. Kids need to know that just because it’s on TV or reported as fact, it isn’t necessarily true.

I wish there was a basic auto competence class. My dad was sure to teach me how to change a tire and such, but it’s amazing how many people cannot. Also, I wish I was taught basic mechanical tinkering. We had auto shop, but it wasn’t mandatory and I never took it.

I think a basic life skills course would’ve been really handy… I can think of a lot of things I ended up learning from my parents or just through the school of hard knocks.

How to manage a personal budget, how to look for and choose a good apartment, how to ace the most common types of job interviews, how to cook a handful of simple healthy meals, how to get what you want when you make customer service complaints, how to find a good plumber/electrician/contractor/etc, and so on and so forth.

A “current events” class where the teacher would lead the students in a discussion of issues in the news for an entire class period.

A class that teaches guys how to eat pussy.