Is Education Really That Important? (Part 1)

1272854_pile_of_books_1I met a high school dropout yesterday. We talked for something like an hour and a half or two hours. It was very revealing and confirms a lot of my thoughts about education. Beware as you read this. If you’re comfortable thinking that everyone needs to go to school, get a degree, and get a safe secure job, then this article will challenge you.

She is 17 years old. She came to my door to talk with me about switching my electricity provider. I have been thinking of doing the same thing anyway, and the rates are lower than my current provider. The reason I haven’t is because my landlord’s name is on the bill and I didn’t want to bother switching over. He signed up for the program, and told me about it before she got to me. It didn’t take much salesmanship on her part, because I was already a willing buyer.

From what I could tell, she dropped out her senior year. But she’s very intelligent. We talked about money, marketing, customer service, sales, school, reading, her goals and ambitions, and her past. She does have a GED and is enrolled to attend the University of Houston in the fall to major in dance with a minor in business. But she said something that I’ve known for a while, just haven’t been able to actually see someone who understood it.

A high school diploma is just a piece of paper
Think about it. How much did you learn about teaching by sitting in a class in college? Odds are you learned more as a student teacher, and even more in the first handful of years of teaching than you ever did in any college classes. The same is true for life.

Are you saying that education is not important?
I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that education is only as valuable as you make it. Her vocabulary was not that of the typical high school students that I know. I used big words and she understood them. Why? Because she reads prolifically. She reads nonfiction books. I gave her a list of five books that she needs to read, and I know that she will. What did I recommend? The same stuff I’ve recommended on here:

How To Win Friends and Influence People
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
The 4-Hour Workweek

The Millionaire Next Door
The Total Money Makeover

These books have all in one way or another helped to completely transform my views on things I should be doing. Education is exceedingly important. But schooling and education are not the same thing. How many students do you know who waste their schooling and miss out on education? I now know one more person who has chosen to forgo the schooling in deference to her own education.

Read part 2 here

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

2 Comments on Is Education Really That Important? (Part 1)

  1. A lot of times college is just the stepping stone to get into a job. Even student teaching didn’t prepare me for the classroom. I was sad when they took vocational ed out of the schools because not everyone is cut out for college. My dad was an accountant for a plumbing company and used to complain that the plumbers made more than he did.

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