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What Good Is French Anyway?

Back on the mean, needle-covered streets of Lake Oswego where I grew up, I was required to take two years of language to graduate from high school. Today I speak exactly no spanish, I might be able to ask for a bathroom, a telephone, and maybe a drink, but damned if there’s a chance in hell I’d ever understand the reply. Guest blogger Daniel Akst at Marginal revolution argues that it might make more sense to require finance. As I have a degree in Economics but have never been able to balance my own checkbook, and certainly would’ve been completely incapable of that feat upon graduating from highschool, I tend to agree.

  1. Tyler says:

    Now Andy, did Atom Egoyan’s film Ararat really win the Nobel Peace Prize? I think you’re trying to pull someone’s leg, buddy.

  2. Andy D says:

    Aww damn, well why can’t you give me the award anyway? I mean, ararat got the nobel peace prize…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I had finance class too. Didn’t help me either. I, and many like me, really could have used some education on simple things like “Don’t charge it unless you already have the cash.” Credit card companies are ruthless in their conquest of college students everywhere. Making minimum payments turns your charge card into a 30-year loan with insane interest. The consumer economy is running on debt, and that’s a terrible situation.

    I had to learn the hard way; I’d like to see some kids learn the easy way. Of course, most of us are dumb and would have to learn the hard way anyway.

    School isn’t designed to prepare you for the real world, anyway. It operates as a holding area to keep kids out of the way and give their parents warm fuzzies.

    Multi-lingualism is underappreciated in this country. The concept most sorely missing from public education is that diverse points of view are intellectually advantageous.

  4. Brandon says:

    I spent seven years in Spanish and the only time my limited knowledge of the language comes in handy is when I hit the “espanol” button at the ATM. Had I spent all that time in a series of personal finance classes, as they called them at Wilson High, I might not only be able to make sense out of my bank statements but finally understand what this whole “stock market” thing is all about.

  5. ko says:

    I nominate Andy D for Verb Misidentification of the Week. [“Are killing”–present progressive. “Killing” in this case is the participle.]

  6. Timothy says:

    My cubicle overlooks a park.

    (ATTN ANDY: He a nomination isn’t a win).

  7. Andy D says:

    I reluctantly accept your award.

  8. WWB says:

    Finance was required at the high school Danimal, Brandon and I attended. I still can’t balance my checkbook.

  9. Olly says:

    I nominate Andy D for Non Sequitur Of The Week. And it’s only Monday!

  10. Andy D says:

    We are killing evil by the hundreds every day. Killing is the verb in that sentence because it’s an action word.

    If you think that you live in fear in the United States, try north korea scum bags.

  11. Timothy says:

    I took grammar for journalists in college, it’s sad how many kids can’t identify a verb.

  12. ko says:

    I tend to agree, too, Tim. I’m sure, once you get good and enmeshed in the intriguing world of international finance, you’ll begin to appreciate what bumbling fools people can be about money . Honestly, people ask me all the time “Why are there finance charges on my credit card? Is that some kind of fee?” or “You mean just because I didn’t make a payment, I get a fee on there?”
    If you followed my advice, though, kids’d be in school 18 hours a day. Let’s try teaching English, too. The language, I mean, not just the literature.

  13. Sho says:

    I took two years of Japanese in high school, and I know as much now as I did when I was five. If you’re going to teach foreign language, you have to start early before the parts of your brain that process language stop developing (like around age 7, I think). But I doubt public school teachers have the time or funds to do that while also teaching math and everything else.

    I think consumer economics was required at my school, but I don’t think we even touched checking accounts. I remember learing how to write checks in my middle school math class, though.

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