Should elementary schools teach frugality and other common sense values?

  • #1
    Thought of this just while writing in welfare thread.

    Normally parents are expected to teach basic values.

    But frankly parents arent teaching basic things like basic financial values, frugality, living within your means, saving lots of your money for the future, respect for people who work hard, and shame for being shiftless or lazy, cheating is despicable and shameful, pride in paying your own way, taking responsibility for your failures, no making idiot-impulse buys, not relying on the government to pay your bills, etc.

    Teaching those values early (really strongly influencing elementary and middle school etc.) would be helpful to many kids. It should be a core teaching of school, equal in importance to even before math or science..

    But teaching those types of core, common sense things in a real, no holds barred, kind of way, might be viewed by many parents as forcing ideology down the kids throats and also passing judgment on the parents. Some parents would strongly object to a curriculum that implicitly looks down on and judges the FAILED lives of half the parents, who don't know how to live within their means, who do live on the govt dole, who don't save any money, who do cheat on everything from sense of general unjustified entitlement, etc.

    How do you effectively teach such core values that are critical to success, to K-5 graders, at a level they can understand, without implying their own parents are ****ing failures for living the way they do? (e.g. How do you teach kids that you really should do everything possible to avoid being on welfare without implying their parents - who arent trying hard to get off it - suck for being 3rd generation welfare) Smaller kids will get the lesson best if you make it simple: What is good, what is bad, and what the ALTERNATIVE is.

    And the problem is intrinsic.

    I dont think that anybody disagrees with the values I talked about above (except maybe a small fringe). Even those on 3rd generation welfare, even if they're lazy *******s in reality, would publicly agree that they'd rather be off welfare (and then make excuses for why they're on it and it's somebody else's fault). But classes that aggressively teach such values and pound them home don't seem to be taught. Should we have classes like that in school as part of elementary school criteria? Hard work, saving, responsibility, living large is being an *******, live within your means, don't be a lazy loser...

    Then in 1st grade, maybe like the food pyramid or food plate, we could teach a "Budgeting box":

    You EARN a $1,
    25 cents for the government to pay for roads and schools and lazy people on welfare
    25 cents to save because you may not have a job later and you want to retire, and emergencies
    25 cents to pay the rent,

    Etc.
    Last edited by dcartist: 3/9/2012 7:58:58 AM
  • #2
    I think you have a fundamental problem in your initial logic, which is that you are treating money management as a 'value' rather than a 'skill'.

    I think budgeting should be taught, and basic money management (like balancing a checkbook, know how to compound interest, etc). This is ESPECIALLY important for low-income students, and they have the most predatory business selling to them, like Rent-to-Own or Payday 'Check Cashing'. They don't even understand how badly they are being ripped off in these scenarios, which is the only reason these places still exist.


    I think the following skills are essential for all student graduating high school:
    • Understanding what a loan is
    • Understanding what interest is and how it works
    • Knowing how to balance a checkbook
    • Knowing how to create a budget
    These aren't values any more than any other math skill. These are basic life skills, that aren't even mentioned is most curriculae. Frugality may be a value, but that isn't really as teachable as these other skills are.

    And DCArtist - I'm REALLY disappointed in your lack of knowledge of welfare in this country. You usually have much more factual responses, rather than sounding like a Fox News Pundit.

    Here is a good analysis of the problem:
    http://www.urban.org/publications/900288.html
    In sum, the majority of families who ever turn to the welfare system for support will use it for relatively short periods of time, but the majority of families receiving assistance at any given point in time (i.e., the current caseload) will eventually receive welfare for relatively long periods of time. While these statements often seem contradictory, both are accurate and both are necessary to present a complete picture of time on welfare.


    What this means is that half of all welfare recipients are only on welfare for less than two years.

    The vast majority of those who are left may be life-long recipients, but there is a reason for that. These are the women who are on WIC, and other programs designed to help.

    Welfare Participant Statistics (Pay attention to the graph that shows employer opinions on these individuals - the vast majority have a positive attitude and are reliabe, and the majority have a strong work ethic):
    http://www.utexas.edu/depts/ic2/et/learner/general.html

    WIC:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIC

    The reasons for this are numerous, but Wiki also has a good portion on the risk factors:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_dependency#Demographic

    Are there people out there milking the system? Yes. Are there lazy people? Yes. But your overgeneralization are damaging to the extreme, and have no factual basis to back them up. Just as many welfare lifers work multiple jobs trying to support children they have to leave with family members because they can't afford daycare.

    Edit:

    25 cents for the government to pay for roads and schools and lazy people on welfare


    Also, we should note that 'Welfare' is 13%ish of the budget, but really only 1/4th of that is what people consider 'welfare' (food stamps, etc). So in reality, of the 25 cents, only about a penny is going towards support welfare.
    Last edited by Jay13x: 3/9/2012 9:43:53 AM
  • #3
    I not only agree with this, but I think it's something that should be part of each year of a 12-year education curriculum. By the time you leave high school you should know about:

    • Mortgages and other forms of credit (including student loans)
    • Tax returns
    • Retirement planning
    • How to invest in the market
    • Balancing the budget
    • What to do if you go belly up

    It would start early with basic savings and by the time you leave high school you would know how to handle your finances at a level your basic working class stiff would need.

    EDIT

    'nathd
    ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ
  • #4
    Common sense in one part of the country/world is not the same in another part of the country/world. HArd to try and teach blanket common sense.

    Values are different to each family. Just because you feel as you do about say paying your own way, doesnt mean the next family feels the same. I think this is where the problem comes when trying to teach values such as you have mentioned. Just because you think everyone should learn 'X' values, doesnt mean their parents want their children to learn those values in that way.

    Also, society has changed, wages have changed, there are people working 2 and 3 jobs to try and just get by. There are kids that dont see their parents during the week because both parents are working multiple jobs to try and make ends meet. Do you really think those kids would listen to anything said to them about how hard work pays off or saving for the future? I am sure they see first hand from people much closer to them the hows and whys of what they do.

    You EARN a $1,
    25 cents for the government to pay for roads and schools and lazy people on welfare
    25 cents to save because you may not have a job later and you want to retire, and emergencies
    25 cents to pay the rent,
    This thinking was pre-credit cards. The 1/3,1/3,1/3 rule has long been dead in most families. Those that still use it (that I know of) are struggling big time in this economy.

    Edit:I agree with Jay about teaching money management, but trying to teach 'values' would end up badly.
  • #5
    @bocephus: I meant to teach as a skill, but implicit to teaching such a skill, comes an inadvertent value message that their parents are big ****ups.

    I will elaborate later. No time now to discuss individual points made.
  • #6
    Quote from dcartist
    @bocephus: I meant to teach as a skill, but implicit to teaching such a skill, comes an inadvertent value message that their parents are big ****ups.

    I will elaborate later. No time now to discuss individual points made.


    I think it would be hard to keep them seperate. In the end the kids would be taught their parents are screw ups... It wouldnt go over to well with the parents. Its bad enough most kids bring homework home that their parents cant help them with.
  • #7
    Quote from bocephus
    I think it would be hard to keep them seperate. In the end the kids would be taught their parents are screw ups...

    I disagree to some extent. Kids would be taught fundamentally-sound money management skills and while some students would be smart enough to extrapolate that the methods their parents employ are unsound because of the situation their family is in, the majority would not connect the dots, but they would still have been taught proper skills for the future.

    It wouldnt go over to well with the parents. Its bad enough most kids bring homework home that their parents cant help them with.

    But, of course, the fact that the parents cannot help their children with the homework is the fault of the school for assigning such hard work, not the fault of the parents for being uneducated. It's amazing to me the pervasiveness of the culture of "it must be someone else's fault for my shortcomings and not possibly my own" in America.
  • #8
    Quote from RABishop
    I disagree to some extent. Kids would be taught fundamentally-sound money management skills and while some students would be smart enough to extrapolate that the methods their parents employ are unsound because of the situation their family is in, the majority would not connect the dots, but they would still have been taught proper skills for the future.


    I think you underestimate children. I tutor and hear some amazing things come from kids mouths. Do they really understand the concepts of what they are talking about? The fact they have some understanding can be detrimental to parenting.


    But, of course, the fact that the parents cannot help their children with the homework is the fault of the school for assigning such hard work, not the fault of the parents for being uneducated. It's amazing to me the pervasiveness of the culture of "it must be someone else's fault for my shortcomings and not possibly my own" in America.


    I dont blame the parents for not knowing. Its a feeling of helplessness when your child comes to you for help and you cant. You feel like a failure as a parent. Now have those same kids come home and tell their parents they are doing it wrong. Yeah, that wouldnt go over too well.

    On the same hand schools are teaching things in kintergarden that they didnt teach until second or third grade 20 years ago. When I was growing up all you had to do to get into kintergrdern was be able to communicate, wipe yourself and build a paper airplane under direction of the teacher. Today to go into pre-k classes, the kids have to know their A,B,C's, know how to count to 100, all their colors and to tie their shoes. It doesnt sound like alot but the jump in a few decades is huge.

    Another thing was where you grew up in the country. We would go over a couple states to visit family during the holidays and my cousins were 4 years older then me and I was doing the same work in school as they were, and we were all in normal classes for or areas.

    In the end, its really no ones fault. Its just how things progress.
  • #9
    Quote from dcartist
    @bocephus: I meant to teach as a skill, but implicit to teaching such a skill, comes an inadvertent value message that their parents are big ****ups.


    I disagree - it empowers their children. You are coming at this from the perspective that the parents are going to also be educated with such skills, and that they've willfully and purposefully not done those things.

    We already teach children things that would tell them why their parents aren't that great: Why it's important to vote, to brush your teeth, abstain from sex or use protection, exercise. Teaching kids to exercise doesn't create backlash from fat parents, why would teaching kids to manage money create a backlash from poor parents? It's not like the only barrier to being rich is a good work ethic. Intelligence, opportunity, skills, education, etc. all matter.
  • #10
    Quote from bocephus
    I dont blame the parents for not knowing. Its a feeling of helplessness when your child comes to you for help and you cant. You feel like a failure as a parent. Now have those same kids come home and tell their parents they are doing it wrong. Yeah, that wouldnt go over too well.

    Depending on the age of the child, I do blame the parent for not being able to help with the homework. If a parent cannot assist their K-6 child with homework, then they fail their child miserably due to their own shortcomings. In the higher grades, they need to be willing to try to help, even if they don't fully grasp the subject at hand.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I will be able to give my daughters help with all of their school work. Once they get into trigonometry or calculus, they can either ask their aunt (my sister) or I'll get them a tutor, because I quit mathematics (aside from Statistics) after Algebra II. History and the Humanities are different stories (I have a degree in Secondary Social Studies Education, so I damn well better be able to help them out in that), and I always did very well in English, but math and, to a lesser extent, science are not areas that I cared much about or particularly did well in.

    Quote from bocephus
    On the same hand schools are teaching things in kintergarden that they didnt teach until second or third grade 20 years ago. When I was growing up all you had to do to get into kintergrdern was be able to communicate, wipe yourself and build a paper airplane under direction of the teacher. Today to go into pre-k classes, the kids have to know their A,B,C's, know how to count to 100, all their colors and to tie their shoes. It doesnt sound like alot but the jump in a few decades is huge.

    Part of the reason that the schools are having to accelerate their programs is because the rest of the world has either passed the US, or is rapidly catching up, in terms of education level. Our students are falling further and further behind their counterparts in Asia and Europe because we spent too long allowing them to get away with just knowing how to "communicate, wipe yourself and build a paper airplane under direction of the teacher", as you so bluntly put it, all the way up through second grade.

    We no longer have the luxury of coddling our kids at the early ages if we want them to be able to compete with students from the rest of the world. Those countries push cultures of excellence and demand results from their kids; being a screw-up is not looked at as an option, nor is hoping to fall back on a professional sports career. Instead of being concerned that things are too hard for them, maybe we should be having higher expectations of what they need to accomplish, and if the parents cannot keep up, that is a result of both the failings of the educational system that produced them and their own lack of ability.
  • #11
    Quote from Jay13x
    I think the following skills are essential for all student graduating high school:
    • Understanding what a loan is
    • Understanding what interest is and how it works
    • Knowing how to balance a checkbook
    • Knowing how to create a budget
    This.

    These skills are so vital and necessary in modern society that it amazes me that they're not taught in High School.
    Quote from TheInfamousBearAssassin »
    Should I really care what some emotionally ******** emo kid, Johnny the Homocidal Maniac wannabe thinks about any issue related to morality or life in general? You're part of the problems we talk about.

    Quote from Blinking Spirit
    You're describing the existentialist movement that appeared after the end of the First World War.

    The proper response to which is, "Get your **** together, you big baby. You don't like it, do something about it."

    Quote from ElricJC »
    But life is too short for cheap beer.
  • #12
    Quote from dcartist
    Normally parents are expected to teach basic values.

    But frankly parents arent teaching basic things like basic financial values, frugality, living within your means, saving lots of your money for the future, respect for people who work hard, and shame for being shiftless or lazy, cheating is despicable and shameful, pride in paying your own way, taking responsibility for your failures, no making idiot-impulse buys, not relying on the government to pay your bills, etc.

    Teaching those values early (really strongly influencing elementary and middle school etc.) would be helpful to many kids. It should be a core teaching of school, equal in importance to even before math or science...


    I'm not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with you (at least at this point :p), but a few questions popped into my mind reading your OP:

    1) It seems at least implied in your OP that parents are doing a worse job of doing the things you talk about than they were before, which necessarily implies that at some point, on the whole, they were doing better. Is that a reasonable conclusion from reading your OP? If so, I'm not sure I can agree with that.

    2) It also seems at least implied that the school can (and if it can, should) take the place of the family where the family fails. If this is a reasonable conclusion from your OP, I'm not sure I can agree with it, either. I think that in certain, special, relatively extreme situations, public or private organizations can and should step in and take a (hopefully) temporary role in providing for children where the family fails to provide. However, I do not think that on the whole any other group can "fill the family's shoes," so to speak. If families are failing, it seems to me the thing to do is work to fix the family ("family" used here as a generic cultural building block), not work to replace the family when and where they are failing.

    Just some thoughts. Might not make any sense.
    Quote from Phil
    Welcome to MTGS. Where opinions are personal attacks and you're always wrong.
  • #13
    Quote from RABishop
    Depending on the age of the child, I do blame the parent for not being able to help with the homework. If a parent cannot assist their K-6 child with homework, then they fail their child miserably due to their own shortcomings. In the higher grades, they need to be willing to try to help, even if they don't fully grasp the subject at hand.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I will be able to give my daughters help with all of their school work. Once they get into trigonometry or calculus, they can either ask their aunt (my sister) or I'll get them a tutor, because I quit mathematics (aside from Statistics) after Algebra II. History and the Humanities are different stories (I have a degree in Secondary Social Studies Education, so I damn well better be able to help them out in that), and I always did very well in English, but math and, to a lesser extent, science are not areas that I cared much about or particularly did well in.


    I know parents who just refuse to go over things with their children at home. They feel its the schools job to teach their children, not theirs. I have had parents of kids I tutor tell me the school is failing their child and when I ask if they have gone over multiplication tables or if they do flash cards with them, they tell me it not their job to do that. If they wanted to teach, they would have become a teacher.


    Part of the reason that the schools are having to accelerate their programs is because the rest of the world has either passed the US, or is rapidly catching up, in terms of education level. Our students are falling further and further behind their counterparts in Asia and Europe because we spent too long allowing them to get away with just knowing how to "communicate, wipe yourself and build a paper airplane under direction of the teacher", as you so bluntly put it, all the way up through second grade.

    We no longer have the luxury of coddling our kids at the early ages if we want them to be able to compete with students from the rest of the world. Those countries push cultures of excellence and demand results from their kids; being a screw-up is not looked at as an option, nor is hoping to fall back on a professional sports career. Instead of being concerned that things are too hard for them, maybe we should be having higher expectations of what they need to accomplish, and if the parents cannot keep up, that is a result of both the failings of the educational system that produced them and their own lack of ability.


    I understand why the acceleration in learning, I went through it decades ago and have children going thru it now. Its one of the problems with wanting to be #1 in learning. When other nations start to catch up to you, you have to figure out a way to keep your edge. I personally think we are going about it wrong, but thats for another thread.
  • #14
    http://www.hoffmanbrinker.com/credit-card-debt-statistics.html

    According to this about only half of the debts inured by credit spending are paid on time. That's not a good number. An education of how to manage your finances well should be taught to every one, so that continued ignorance may be reduced as well as poverty.

    I'm currently takings a financial economics course, and well its not to hard, but i can see that in spite of the ease of it unless you were taught it would be hard to know what to do with one's money effectively. If you read the link above you can see for yourself that a great many people of the general population are living lives that they cannot afford.

    Here are some guidelines that i live by, and have been debt free for so far 2 years of university. As well as what i have learned from my class.

    Getting into debt to purchase things that do not increase in value, or increase your income are never things that you should allow yourself to go into debt for. Also going into debt for things such as a house you should choose something that is within your living range.

    Living grandiose is all about ego, and while you make look impressive your only a fool if its beyond your means to maintain. Don't purchase because of your ego, or your pride.

    Luxuries are unnecessary for survival they are nice, but they rarely increase in wealth, and they never bring in additional income. So unless you have money to spare you can not afford to purchase that Luxury.

    Quote from bocephus
    Also, society has changed, wages have changed, there are people working 2 and 3 jobs to try and just get by. There are kids that dont see their parents during the week because both parents are working multiple jobs to try and make ends meet. Do you really think those kids would listen to anything said to them about how hard work pays off or saving for the future? I am sure they see first hand from people much closer to them the hows and whys of what they do.


    The people who have to work 2-3 job's either have had very bad luck, are to proud to lower their life style to one where they can manage, or are unskilled and thus are confined to work minimum wage job's to subsist due to a lack of specialization, or desired skill.

    One last Note: If you spend less than you earn you'll run a surplus, and with that surplus you can purchase things debt free, or invest it in what ever way suits you, and earn more from your surplus.

    If you spend more than you earn then you'll run a deficit, and with that deficit unless it is payed off soon will it cost you much more than the original deficit.

    Its really conceptually simple, you think it wouldn't have to be taught and it would be universally understood, but it seems that way the trends of society are going people are becoming less and less intelligent when it comes to personal finances. Or at least that is what i can infer from the trend of an increase in personal debt to income over time.
    Mehungary
  • #15
    The people who have to work 2-3 job's either have had very bad luck, are to proud to lower their life style to one where they can manage, or are unskilled and thus are confined to work minimum wage job's to subsist due to a lack of specialization, or desired skill.
    I know many professionals that have gone from making 6 figures to working multiple part time jobs because of places moving or just not having work for them anymore. These are white collar guys sitting behind desks as well as skilled trades men and women that are doing any thing they can to make ends meet. Its real easy to sit back and say this is how it should be, but when you are making $80k-$100k a year and have a mortgage and car payments that you can cover making that, and have to go to $20k-$30k a year... I dont care how much you tighten, its going to be tough. Selling your home for a loss..maybe.. isnt the answer. Selling your car for a huge loss isnt going to solve anything. All these people do is plug along trying to make ends meet. I seem to hear about more and more going thru this around me.

    I dont care what kind of educate you have in money management, its going to be a long rough road to pull yourself and your family out of it.
  • #16
    Quote from bocephus
    I know many professionals that have gone from making 6 figures to working multiple part time jobs because of places moving or just not having work for them anymore. These are white collar guys sitting behind desks as well as skilled trades men and women that are doing any thing they can to make ends meet. Its real easy to sit back and say this is how it should be, but when you are making $80k-$100k a year and have a mortgage and car payments that you can cover making that, and have to go to $20k-$30k a year... I dont care how much you tighten, its going to be tough. Selling your home for a loss..maybe.. isnt the answer. Selling your car for a huge loss isnt going to solve anything. All these people do is plug along trying to make ends meet. I seem to hear about more and more going thru this around me.

    I dont care what kind of educate you have in money management, its going to be a long rough road to pull yourself and your family out of it.


    I'm referring to incurring debt that is unmanageable now, not debt that becomes such through coincidence. There is little one can do to prepare for such an occurrence.

    The circumstances of any unfortunate person is irrelevant, if they are having such financial problems then there is no miracle to "save" the good life. They are there for whatever reason they must decide through logical and mathematical contemplation how to best ease the burden of debt that they currently can not maintain. If you can't afford to pay the debt then you should do anything to ease that debt, even if it means doing drastic things. The longer a debt is un-payed the more expensive it gets so its not a good idea to postpone repaying it on the whim that you will recover. If you do recover from misfortune the debt that you kept only grew during the intermission of payments. Either way the debt grows rather than shrinks which will only provide more hardship for recovery.

    There might be a window where deciding between doing something drastic and a hope for recovery could be calculated such that the growth of the debt is bearable and affordable. Still it all amounts to basically which choice will cost less. It's likely that either situation will become a loss, so picking the one that loses less is the best what ever that may be.
    Mehungary
  • #17
    One thing I'd put in such a curriculum is "common financial scams" such as pyramid schemes/ MLM, credit cards and payday loans, never get money for nothing, etc. And instead of the soft pedaling version, I'd have clear principles in the class of why it's always wrong to participate.

    Allegories like the ant-grasshopper scenario, but more specific to real life like credit cards, banking, not getting insurance & ending up screwed, etc. all age appropriate.

    I think I'd definitely include one about the young mouse who decides to put all his
    Bets on someday making the NBA and ends up homeless like a million other mice, when he finds out that only one in 100,000 make it... Or maybe the grasshopper named Iverson that makes the NBA but blows his cash and ends up broke... kids should understand this stuff since elementary school and WHY it happens.

    Where lazy bums end up.


    SIMPlified cautionary tales about financial blundering and poor choices in life, pulling no punches.
    Last edited by dcartist: 3/11/2012 6:31:52 AM
  • #18
    I think parenting is what's wrong with today's society - we need more parents instilling values, ethics, and the importance of hard work into today's kids. Presently, our media is raising our children, and frankly, I think it's disgusting. Just look at where society is turning as a result. This needs to change.
    (W: 45-3-20) (L: 30-1-11)
    [The Family] - <Helpdesk> - {Мы, темноте}
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.
Posts Quoted:
Reply
Clear All Quotes