So, who came up with the Pythagorean theorem and why? Forty-eight percent of respondents to a new poll say learning about that in school was a total waste of their time. Fifty-seven percent say they wished they had been taught how to manage their money rather than a lot of the stuff they did learn. I agree.

A survey commissioned by H&R Block shows most Americans wish they could have taken money management classes in school and say they use only about 37 percent of what they learned in school in their everyday lives. Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate what it is we teach in school and it's relevance to today's rapidly changing world.

Florida is currently considering legislation that would make a class in money management a requirement for graduation. Given the number of people who live paycheck-to-paycheck and are deeply in debt, perhaps this makes sense. Probably more sense than making sure kids are skilled in the periodic table.

Car and home repair and job search skills are some of the other areas respondents feel would have been useful to learn in school. Identifying rocks and making paper snowflakes are two areas many feel they could have done without.

History should always be taught because as writer and philosopher George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Basic math, science, and languages are also important and should not be abandoned. Perhaps consideration should be given to more useful lessons as well. Lessons in how to function on a day-to-day basis without falling off the sphere.

We are currently re-evaluating our decision to scale back on vocational training while instead pushing all kids towards college. The time has come to examine our educational goals in general to better train young people to function in an increasingly complicated world while addressing the needs of the future.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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