Nobody would bring a sword to a gunfight – not unless they had a death wish. Yet this seems to be a good analogy of how we’re equipping our kids for the future.

Our education system is obsolete, solely focusing on teaching kids the 3 R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic), while ignoring or paying lip service to the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.

Those skills are financial literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, and creativity, not to mention SEL skills, like managing failure, empathy, and grit.

Schools are supposed to prepare kids for a career, but much of the information in textbooks today will be obsolete by the time our kids start their careers. Half the jobs that most kids in school today will have haven’t been created yet. And nearly half of the jobs that exist today will be automated in the next 20 years.

Knowledge today is a free commodity, available to everyone with an Internet-connected device. So, it’s not important how much knowledge we can stuff into a kid’s brain. What matters is what they can be do with that knowledge.

We need to raise our kids to be versatile and critical thinkers. But how much of the current curriculum focuses on developing these skills? The short answer is little to none.

A brilliant book, Academically Adrift, reports on a study demonstrating that, after two years of college, nearly half of all students showed no improvement in their complex-reasoning, critical-thinking, or writing skills.

The Kids Finance Initiative started out training kids in financial literacy, but since then, we’ve developed programs that focus on other skills that aren’t taught in conventional schools, like managing failure, mindset training, developing grit, critical thinking, and learning how to learn. We also have a program on investing, where we teach teens the essentials of this critical skill, giving them a deeper understanding so that they can have a head start.

The fight’s going to be brutal.

Forget the sword.

Give us a call and we’ll send in the heavy artillery.

By Marilyn L Pinto