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# Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader

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So I visited with my parents tonight, and they put on a new television gameshow called "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?". The premise is that they find some guy/gal, and put them up against 10 questions that a 5th grader is expected to know.

Sounds easy enough, right? I can safely say that yes, I am smarter than a 5th grader. Most of the questions are laughably simple, but there are undoubtedly the 'wtf' questions.

For example, tonights episode had a question: "What stage is a butterfly in right before it becomes a butterfly (it was worded better, I promise):
A) pupa
B) larva
C) egg"

Immediately, my mind said "PUPA!". I of course knew the answer was right, but that worried me a bit. I got to thinking... "wait, why did I know that so quickly?".

The answer, of course, is that extensive time in US elementary school is spent on learning things like this. I then started thinking "When the hell has this knowledge ever been useful to me?". Answer: never.

Next question: "When the hell will this knowledge ever be useful to me?"

Next question: "What kind of careers are there where this kind of knowledge is needed?"
Answer: I guess entomology. I can't really think of any more than that.

How many entomologists are there in this world? Perhaps less than 100,000, would be my guess. I obviously can't say for sure, but there's got to be less than a million or so.

Regardless, this is some pretty specialized information that is really only useful to a limited subset of the population as a whole, so it's really confusing as to why it's even remotely important for an elementary school to teach.

That got me thinking though, why aren't the more important details of life taught in school. I'd love to see school exam questions like this:

Quote:
 Bob got married at 21 and has 3 kids. He has $30k in school loans, and he just bought a brand new Escalade at 7% interest for 5 years. He has an adjustable-rate 50-year mortgage on a$300k house, and last month he spent $10k on a new 50" plasma tv, Blu-ray player, PS3, and surround sound system. He put it all on a 21% APR credit card, which he pays off the minimum of each month. How fucked is Bob? Quote:  What do you want to be when you grow up?A) Astronaut (0.00000657142857% chance)B) Pro Football Player (0.00002857142857% chance)C) Rock Star (0.00007142857143% chance)D) Corporate Desk Jockey (40% chance)E) Wal*Mart Clerk (59% chance) ## 5 Comments ## Recommended Comments Bravo! Make you a deal. I'll pay for another year of your gdnet+ subscription if you promise to post an elitist rant like this every week. It'll be worth it for sheer entertainment value. Next week's topic: "Some say the glass is half-full. Some say the glass is half-empty. I say that the whole conundrum fills me with boundless ennui." #### Share this comment ##### Link to comment #### Share this comment ##### Link to comment Quote:  Original post by johnhattan Bravo! Make you a deal. I'll pay for another year of your gdnet+ subscription if you promise to post an elitist rant like this every week. It'll be worth it for sheer entertainment value. Next week's topic: "Some say the glass is half-full. Some say the glass is half-empty. I say that the whole conundrum fills me with boundless ennui." I'm not sure how you got 'elitist' out of that. My only point was that schools don't teach realistic things that prepare people for the real world, particularly finances. I was pretty damn dumb when it came to finances up until about 2 years ago, when I decided to learn on my own so I could achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. So it's not like I'm saying I'm brilliant and better than everyone else. My actual point is that I wish someone (schools!) would have taught me about things like financial planning when I was a kid, instead of letting us out into a world thinking about the stages of a butterfly's life, not realising how badly you can get messed up dealing with school loans, credit cards, etc. When I went to college, there were literally dozens of people on campus hawking their plastic cards, all in return for free clothing. They hid the terms of the agreements behind free gifts and promises of "oh don't worry, you only have to pay$20 a month!".

Nothing in high school prepared us for that.

Also, the career choice thing... I'm a corporate desk jockey. I probably always will be. I'm not making fun of the profession, I'm just pointing out the difference between realism and idealism. When we were kids, we were all encouraged to think up of the most lofty careers possible, but no one ever prepared us for reality. There have only been 460 astronauts on this planet of 7 billion people. What are the chances that anyone growing up will become one? Well, the post has those odds listed already.

I don't see what's so elitist about pointing out reality.

Quote:
Original post by Mithrandir
Quote:
 Original post by johnhattan Bravo! Make you a deal. I'll pay for another year of your gdnet+ subscription if you promise to post an elitist rant like this every week. It'll be worth it for sheer entertainment value. Next week's topic: "Some say the glass is half-full. Some say the glass is half-empty. I say that the whole conundrum fills me with boundless ennui."

I'm not sure how you got 'elitist' out of that. My only point was that schools don't teach realistic things that prepare people for the real world, particularly finances.

I was pretty damn dumb when it came to finances up until about 2 years ago, when I decided to learn on my own so I could achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. So it's not like I'm saying I'm brilliant and better than everyone else.

My actual point is that I wish someone (schools!) would have taught me about things like financial planning when I was a kid, instead of letting us out into a world thinking about the stages of a butterfly's life, not realising how badly you can get messed up dealing with school loans, credit cards, etc.

When I went to college, there were literally dozens of people on campus hawking their plastic cards, all in return for free clothing. They hid the terms of the agreements behind free gifts and promises of "oh don't worry, you only have to pay $20 a month!". Nothing in high school prepared us for that. Also, the career choice thing... I'm a corporate desk jockey. I probably always will be. I'm not making fun of the profession, I'm just pointing out the difference between realism and idealism. When we were kids, we were all encouraged to think up of the most lofty careers possible, but no one ever prepared us for reality. There have only been 460 astronauts on this planet of 7 billion people. What are the chances that anyone growing up will become one? Well, the post has those odds listed already. I don't see what's so elitist about pointing out reality. You still haven't read A Confederacy of Dunces, have you? #### Share this comment ##### Link to comment Quote: Original post by johnhattan Quote: Original post by Mithrandir Quote:  Original post by johnhattan Bravo! Make you a deal. I'll pay for another year of your gdnet+ subscription if you promise to post an elitist rant like this every week. It'll be worth it for sheer entertainment value. Next week's topic: "Some say the glass is half-full. Some say the glass is half-empty. I say that the whole conundrum fills me with boundless ennui." I'm not sure how you got 'elitist' out of that. My only point was that schools don't teach realistic things that prepare people for the real world, particularly finances. I was pretty damn dumb when it came to finances up until about 2 years ago, when I decided to learn on my own so I could achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. So it's not like I'm saying I'm brilliant and better than everyone else. My actual point is that I wish someone (schools!) would have taught me about things like financial planning when I was a kid, instead of letting us out into a world thinking about the stages of a butterfly's life, not realising how badly you can get messed up dealing with school loans, credit cards, etc. When I went to college, there were literally dozens of people on campus hawking their plastic cards, all in return for free clothing. They hid the terms of the agreements behind free gifts and promises of "oh don't worry, you only have to pay$20 a month!".

Nothing in high school prepared us for that.

Also, the career choice thing... I'm a corporate desk jockey. I probably always will be. I'm not making fun of the profession, I'm just pointing out the difference between realism and idealism. When we were kids, we were all encouraged to think up of the most lofty careers possible, but no one ever prepared us for reality. There have only been 460 astronauts on this planet of 7 billion people. What are the chances that anyone growing up will become one? Well, the post has those odds listed already.

I don't see what's so elitist about pointing out reality.

You still haven't read A Confederacy of Dunces, have you?

It's on my list.

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