Why don't high schools teach students how to prepare a basic income tax return? Or at least, why don't they inform students about income taxes?
I see other answers here saying that they do teach their kids explicitly how to do taxes. I donu2019t.Why?Most kids donu2019t find it that interesting, and donu2019t retain much of what we teach.This is often the answer to u201cwhy donu2019t schools teach us stuff we can use?u201d Many well intentioned teachers try to instill real-world skills into their students, but students donu2019t usually find it engaging, and most forget it by the time it comes to use it.Itu2019s because stuff doesnu2019t feel relevantu2022 until itu2019s relevant. Once you realize you need the information, you suddenly become motivated, and you learn it fairly quickly (as long as you possess the prerequisite skills, more on this later.)Itu2019s not that we shouldnu2019t try to teach relevant skills, but to actually add educational value, it needs to be skills that students are interested in picking up.Doing your taxes ISNu2019T THAT DAMN HARD.Seriously. Itu2019s not.Time consuming? Yes. Frustrating, it can be. Annoying the other 364 days where you had to keep careful records? Sure.But actually doing taxes is not that bad unless you are a small business owner.You get your (sometimes free) tax software and answer all the questions and fill in appropriate boxes.Itu2019s so easy thatu2026Parents could teach their kids in an afternoon.Weu2019re supposed to be teaching your kids the stuff that takes lots of time, or that you canu2019t.Teach your kids to cook.Teach your kids to fold laundry.Teach your kids to do their taxes.Theyu2019ll learn it better from you anyway. We donu2019t have time for that.Yes, I understand that not everyone comes from a good home, but we donu2019t have time to teach all life skills in the classroom.Teaching kids how to do taxes isnu2019t financial literacy.Oh, I definitely teach exponential growth, and the danger of high interest loans and credit cards. I try to instill numeracy. We talk a little about budgeting, saving, and investing.But teaching kids how to fill out a form is not preparing them to handle their finances.Tax law changes constantly. Anything we teach will be obsolete in 5 years.We teach students enough material that will be obsolete. No need to add to the list.And finallyu2026We give students all the prerequisite skills to do their taxes.Math classes are constantly:asking students to take percentagestransferring numbers from here to thereoptimization problems (how can I get the biggest return)forcing students to follow specific directions for complicated processesMath is abstract. We donu2019t cover all possible applications. But we try to prepare students for anything by exposing students to lots of potential applications.Weu2019ve got a lot to teach. We also prspecific financial math classes if students want to take them.Please just let me teach Algebra.