Is Secondary School Just Secondary to What’s Important? High School Preparation for Adulthood


Nicholas Espinoza

Most U.S. citizens today have to deal with the dreadful filing of taxes at the end of the year to manage their finances and stay on the law’s nice list. Despite the fact that millions of taxpayers file taxes every year, many young adults do not know how to file them. Many of those young adults have never been taught how to file taxes either because they weren’t taught at home or because they weren’t taught in school. 

Besides just taxes, students face a lack of sustenance in the curriculum as far as life skills. Students are taught useful educational skills such as math and science, but without the supplementation of a connection to adult life in their curriculum to show how these skills are useful. When asked if she felt the curriculum lacked a personal connection to personal life, Catherine Christiansen, a science teacher at Tallwood High School, replied, “Absolutely.”

There has been much debate surrounding this lack of connection to adult life in school and whether school prepares students for life beyond graduation rather than just post-secondary schooling. 

Some believe that it is up to the parents to raise their children and prepare them to be adults, and that is up to the schools to prepare these students for college. But what happens when there is little to no supplementation at home? Does school really prepare students for life beyond high school?

“I worry a lot about this. I think the way school is structured right now is designed to prepare students for the next “level” of school…and that we incentivise students to get good at ‘doing’ school…We don’t teach students how to sit in or process uncomfortable feelings like failure, mistakes, rejection, or how to manage conflict and communication in interpersonal relationships…I worry that we are missing out on vital skills for our students’ futures,” stated David Holland, the AP Government teacher at Tallwood. 

It’s true that high school does in fact prepare students for college in many ways, such as Tallwood’s ACCESS program and the availability of Dual Enrollment and AP coursework; however, this coursework needs to flow with the lives of the students it affects. 

“Not all students buy into how school is conducted. Critical thinking is often pushed, but students still heavily rely on help. Eighteen year olds are often not prepared to make the major decisions required to move into adult life,” stated Christiansen when asked about coursework. 

Evidently, high school seems to have the intent to prepare students for the next stage of life, but don’t do so in the best way. Oftentimes, high school curriculum just has students skilled in “school” but not in life. While there are many courses designed to prepare students for independent living, students still lack the understanding between these courses and their core courses. This must be applied in order for students here at Tallwood and in high schools around the nation to feel prepared for life beyond high school, 

Works Cited

Cassidy, Kelly, et al. “Preparation for Adulthood: A Teacher Inquiry Study for Facilitating Life Skills in Secondary Education in the United States.” Journal of Educational Issues, vol. 2018, Vol. 4, No. 1, no. 2377-2263, 2018, p. 14., Accessed 9 12 2022.

Chen, Grace. “Are Public School Students Prepared for the “Real World?”” Public School Review, 20 May 2022, Accessed 5 January 2023.

Franklin, Alvin. “AZ Big Media Does high school prepare you for adulthood?” AZ Big Media, 11 July 2019, Accessed 20 December 2022.

Nakon, Irina. “Should schools do more to prepare students for ‘adulthood’?” Brig Newspaper, 2 February 2020, Accessed 5 January 2023.

Witt, Kaitlynn. “A High School Curriculum that will Help Prepare Students for a Life outside of Academics.” ScholarWorks@BGSU, 8 5 2020, Accessed 22 December 2022.