What you learn in high school is rarely applicable in the real world. For example, you're not allowed to consult your text books or ask other people for answers during tests --- yet in the real world, that's exactly what you'd do. It got me thinking about other things we learn in school: Geography, History, Art, Literature, Algebra, Geometry. In some some science classes, you even have to dissect a dead animal. I can honestly say that I don't use any of these at all on a daily basis. Then there are useful things you don't learn unless you're in a commercial course: typing, computer operations, the Internet, investment strategies, politics, pension and retirement planning, real estate, balancing a checkbook, writing a a resumé, driving a motor vehicle, etc. Who knows how many more useless skills students are being taught, instead of what they should be taught to prepare them for real life situations.
Then there's another thing. The real world rewards specialists, not generalists. If I consult an accountant, I don't care how good he or she is in biology, art, or literature. I want an accountant who is GREAT at what he or she does --- in other words, a specialist. Schools are training generalists. If you want to specialize, you have to go to a special school. Let me put this another way. There are four major differences between the two types of education: schooling focuses on the individual’s performance, whereas out-of-school mental work is often socially shared. Schooling aims to foster unaided thought, whereas mental work outside school usually involves cognitive tools. School cultivates symbolic thinking, whereas
mental activity outside school engages directly with objects and situations. Finally, schooling aims to teach general skills and knowledge, whereas situation-specific competencies dominate outside.
Unfortunately, this gap between schooling and the real world exists not only on the high school level, but on the university level as well. Even though a university will provide more opportunities for specialization, you have to take more advanced forms of the courses you took in high school: art appreciation, appreciation of literature, world history, calculus, etc.