Why isn’t politics in the compulsory education system?

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This is the truest tweet I’ve seen in a very very long time. Social sciences tend to be looked down upon by other academic disciplines but it seems as though the consequences of the lack of its teaching is globally evident. I tutor part time and on particular days of the week my company will tutor 11+ kids. This will involve extra curricular sessions on things outside of the national curriculum. One particular session was on money. Most of the kids had heard about the recession but didn’t know what it was. And in an activity where they had to rank objects from most to least expensive, they put a Mini Cooper car over a two bedroom house in London. It honestly made me think “What’s the point in raising kids who know how many wives Henry III had but don’t know how to manage their finances?”

In schools we learn so much about things which are really only relevant in a pub quiz (Tudors etc), but nothing about real life skills:

  • How can the government give us the vote if we don’t know how to use it? If we don’t know how to read an MP’s policies and understand what they’re promising then how are we meant to vote in an informed way?
  • How are we supposed to manage our money if we aren’t taught about taxes, banking, or the economy?
  • How are we supposed to rent or buy a home if we aren’t taught about mortgages, the property ladder, or loans?

Even basic things like our human rights aren’t mandatory to know. How can the government really expect to yield well-informed, responsible adults if they don’t invest in teaching kids real life skills?

If you don’t know that you don’t know something then you’re in a position to be easily manipulated. We end up getting spoon-fed messages from the media through the rise of shows like ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ and ‘Benefits street’. The big issues in society such as racism, sexism etc will never change instantly. It will be a generational process. No one can stop a parent from expressing their political or prejudicial views to their kids, but if real, objective facts are taught in schools then we have a chance of changing the next generation’s mindset. But we seem to do the complete opposite. We don’t learn much on topics such as international relations unless we are from a moral and helpful stance e.g.  WW2 (rescuing the jews and doing a good Christian service to the world), but we don’t learn about anyone’s war of independence or colonisation, although England colonised half of the world. And it is a big part of why the UK is successful today.

Germany have reformed their history lessons and ensure that all are educated on the holocaust to learn from it and make sure nothing ever reoccurs. Teaching the subject of the Holocaust and the Nazi era is mandatory in German schools and in addition to the classroom curriculum, almost all students have either visited a concentration camp or a Holocaust memorial or museum. This is a country which is not running from their past, but learning from it.

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society”- Angela Davis

By Anya McGregor-Kerr


The Move

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