5 Reasons Why Schools Are the Biggest Scam of Your Childhood

school sucks

Who knew that in my mid-twenties, I would still be in school. I mean, come on! I should be making my six-figure salary by now. But I’m not. I still have to wait a few more years before I get there.

So as I reflect back on my life, which is basically school, school, and more school, I get a little angry. Actually, that is an understatement. I am more than a little angry. I am enraged. ARRRGGHH!!!

You want to know why I am so mad? Do you?

Well …

Truth being told, I got hoodwinked for pretty much all of my life!

And I bet you a pretty penny that you have been hoodwinked too. Now you may be asking, “Alex, what are you talking about?”

Let me explain. If you have attended any type of school, you have been duped. What you thought was good for you (just because it was such a chore), is actually not. Here are 5 reasons why schools are a crappy deal for you.

1. Schools take up too much time. They take away your childhood.

The average child would spend 13 years in the education system before graduating high school. If he has a tiger mom, it increases to 15 years (due to a head start during pre-school). He really does not have a choice. Even if he wanted to spend less time in school, he is pretty much forced to attend.

Why? Thanks to compulsory education. All states passed laws stating that children must attend school until a certain age. In NJ, children are forced to go to school when they are between 6 to 16 years old.

Because of schools, children are forced to become little adults. They are intimidated into sitting still for many hours, following instructions, and doing work. This is very unnatural for almost all children. Those who cannot obey the teachers’ commands are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or oppositional defiant disorder. Those who cannot keep up with the schoolwork are labeled as slow or losers.

They are no longer allowed to become children.

2. Schools teach you lots of useless things. Hence, a lot of the time you spent in school is wasted.

Looking back at my time in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, my main benefit of going to school was learning English and learning math (until algebra). Anything beyond those was pretty much a waste of time.

I remember my history class stressing bunch of events and dates. They are only important because they will be on the test. I remember learning trigonometry and calculus, but I don’t remember how to do them. I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye, but I don’t remember what it is about.

Basically, I forgot so much because they are so unimportant. 90% of the things I learned in school was unimportant.

Most likely than not, 90% of the things you have learned in school is done useless.

3. Schools does not teach you what you really need to know.

Before I get into this part, I am going to list some things that are important to the average person:

  • Making money.
  • Having freedom.
  • Being well-liked.
  • Finding love.
  • Being healthy.

Besides attending a lecture on eating healthy and exercising, when was the last time you actually learned any important? My guess is never. Why?

Because school is not real life!

Because school is not real life!

Because school is not real life!

How can schools teach you how to make money when most of them rely on handouts from the government? How can schools teach you about freedom when they take away the freedom of children? (I don’t mean freedom according to the constitution. I mean freedom in your life, so you don’t have to answer to anyone, if you don’t want to.) How can schools teach you about being well-liked, especially if you were one of the uncool kids. How can school teach you above love when children are judged based upon their academic performance? How can school promote healthiness when the low-cost lunches they serve promote obesity?

They can’t.

If you want to learn the important things of life, you must learn them on your own.

4. Schools are made to stifle you as an individual. They exist to turn you into a good, replaceable, little worker.

The reason that schools can’t teach you the important things is because they are not made to do so. Schools exist to turn you into an obedient worker, an interchangeable part in the cogwheels of big business.

This is what Seth Godin said in his book, Stop Stealing Dreams:

A hundred and fifty years ago, adults were incensed about child labor. Low-wage kids were taking jobs away from hard-working adults.

Sure, there was some moral outrage about seven-year-olds losing fingers and being abused at work, but the economic rationale was paramount. Factory owners insisted that losing child workers would be catastrophic to their industries and fought hard to keep the kids at work — they said they couldn’t afford to hire adults. It wasn’t until 1918 that nationwide compulsory education was in place.

Part of the rationale used to sell this major transformation to industrialists was the idea that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers. Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence—it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child-labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.

Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system. Scale was more important than quality, just as it was for most industrialists.

5. Schools are not a reflection of the real world. They do not prepare you for the changing times.

Why do schools make you memorization and regurgitate massive amounts of trivial details? Because that is how it was always done. Forget the fact that the information is at your fingertips if you have an internet connection and a smart phone.

Why do schools love standardized exams? Because that is how it was always done. And it is easier to grade. Forget the fact that the world is not a standardized exam. You actually have to come up with your own answers in real life!

Why do schools fail to prepare their students to find jobs? This is the largest complaint that high school and college graduates have against the education system. And for good reason. The students spend so much time in school, at least 13 years. And for what? A slim chance of getting a stable, high-paying jobs.

In truth, most people are unable to get these jobs! According to Malcom Gladwell, a person can master anything in about 10 years. But students who spent 13 years in school are not masters of anything. Sure, these students can fill out bubbles in the standardized exams. They can obey instructions and sit in one spot for a long time. But employers have no need for mindless drones. They can get cheaper ones overseas. These students have been trained to replaceable parts instead of free-thinkers and explorers. And as a result, they are displaced. Unemployed. Underemployed. Unmotivated. Bored. 

Those who get the good jobs are the ones who actually have skills outside of blind obedience and scantron filling. They rely on themselves, constantly learn, try new things, and never give up.

How an 11-year old Boy from Kenya Saved Endangered Lions and Revolutionized an Industry

Just the other day, I read this article. Here was a boy that was severely under-educated, in comparison to American school children. And yet, he made more impact as a child than most Americans would ever do in their lifetimes. Instead of spending his time memorizing and filling out bubbles on some scantron papers, he tried to come up with ways to protect his family’s livelihood. He did not succeed on his first try. Nor on his second or third try either. But because he did not give up, he was able to invent a device that accomplished what no one else could — saving his herd of cattle without killing lions.

Children need their childhood. Their curiosity should be promoted. Their failures would be rewarded. Because it is through their curiosity and failures that they may find success.

“Don’t let school interfere with your education.” – Mark Twain

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  1. Great article Alex! Point number 3 is particularly great, schools don’t teach you how to make money or be cool, that’s their main problem.

  2. i hate school it is the worst, im typing this while in im in school

  3. Alexia McCalla says:

    thank u Alex!!
    now i have some backup for when my parents me “y do u not want to go to school?”
    or “y do u think school is pointless?”
    thank u so much

    (now i know i’m not the only one who disagrees with the whole idea of “School”)

  4. Alex,

    Just came across your blog for the first time, and then this article … WOW! To the point.

    Thanks for sharing your personal take on the educational system in the Western world. I’m with you. Over here in Germany it’s the same BS; very grateful I’m out of it since mid 2013.

    Anyway. Good to hear that there are still young people out there who think critically. I’m curious: What are you doing nowadays (apart from blogging)?

  5. Micah Bristol says:

    I think some topics like economics and knowing your countrys history is good, I think the problem I have is why does it have to take 13 years? I agree that the real world is making money, being social and doing something you actually like, but you still need elementary to know you ABC, so I like there should be a limit. I’m failing 4 classes and there is wayyyy to much pressure on being smart. And they say being smart gets you places, no! BS, I just think school is somwhat important but I don’t think school should have alll these expectations and rules.

  6. Patricia says:

    I want school to disapear

  7. i can fill in a bubble on a standardized test like a son of a bitch

  8. School teaches you stuff that you don’t want to do when you grow up which is annoying I:(

  9. Yes, true school does repetitively teach a lot of irrelevant information that you probably will never rely on in daily life, so aside from discipline, what’s the benefit? It’s the skill of learning that is relevant, we are taught how to learn so that when we are in the real world we apply the ‘skill of learning’ to any situation, whether we like the topic or not.

    It’s not about hating school but rather about making the most of it. We are privileged enough to be able to attend school as opposed to many children who never have the opportunity. If we want to change the system to make school more interesting, inspiring and practical to life then we should encourage specialism of a subject but when does a child know what they want to specialise in? And do they ever really know with the countless subjects they could theoretically choose to specialise in?

    Let’s face it, hating school is not the answer. Let’s work collectively to come up with solutions to make school more practical and encourage children to want to learn.

    We learn best by doing so let’s bring in resources to encourage children to learn the practical way, by trial and error. Then we can discuss the outcomes and work together to come up with solutions to answers before we test our theories again. This is the answer to creating intelligent thinkers and it all starts with lobbying for change.

    If you don’t like it, do something about changing it, if not for ourselves then do it for the next generation. Hating is not a solution. Changing a system to make it more productive is and working together to accomplish results is the way forward.

  10. jackra88itslim says:

    You’re right. Only things I needed was basic math history reading and writing. I’m a grower in Colorado now… dont need calculus for that. I think it’s ridiculous. Teach that cap I’m college for people needing it for say like architecture. Jews got the right idea… ever see a jewelry in a public school? Nope because we pay taxes to them so their children can get private schools and learn real stuff while laughing at us.

  11. Gustavo Lopez says:

    yea, We don’t want to know if JFK got shot or saw an ugly lady!!

  12. I love to draw and animate and stuff but school takes up so much of my time I rarely have a chance to. All I have time to do in my free time is take care of my basic needs, so you know I don’t die. I barely have time to take care of my fish.

  13. This is so true I have learned nothing from school I am in high school and still don’t know how to spell much good are do math that isn’t ➕ and take away I can’t do times the years of teachers not helping me learn and with bullying have been bad but one day I stopped caring and that’s when it got better school has been the biggest waste of my life imagen how much I could of done if I didn’t go to school by now I would probably be rich and traveling o the world we need to make a group and band up and take the school system down and make it a place were you learn real life stuff like how to keep money healthy relationships how to cook how to be social and how to dress and this us coming from a teen girl.

  14. In school I couldn’t write well and I was instantly told that I was one of the special kids or as they called it “The Happy Fun Time Group” it was awful I always got help and it took an hour to do simple math like 56(n)=132 which is .42 repeating

  15. Rebel of hope says:

    I agree, everone should have the ability to learn What they want. Not rubbish junk, oh and by the way .😡may school and the worst teachers die as much as students creativity is destroyed.

  16. We have the internet. Colleges and libraries should be donated to the cities for the homeless.
    We should be able to test our knowledge from where we are and enter the next level.


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