What Should Be Taught to Forth Graders – A Book Review

It is amazing the on-going debate on how to make sure our kids learn to read, and have the education they need. If they hit junior high without a good working knowledge, it can spell disaster to their integration into teen-hood and their academic years in high school. Luckily, there are resources to insure our students are on the right track prior to this.

So, let’s start in the fourth grade. In fact, let me recommend a very good book to you on this very topic, one which I actually own in my own library. The book is;

“What Your 4 TH Grader Needs to Know – Fundamentals of a Good Fourth-Grade Education” (part of The Core Knowledge Series), Edited by E.D. Hirsh Jr., published by Delta Trade Paperbacks a division of Double Day Dell and Bantam Books, (1992), pp. 395, ISBN: 0-385-31260-1.

The editor is well-known in education circles and previously wrote “Cultural Literacy” which has been widely used. This book is so very easy to use and starts out with a section; “How to Use This Book – for Parents and Teachers. This completely helps for anyone who is a Homeschooling Parent, or any new teacher at the fourth grade level. I read through the entire book and felt right at home and even learned some interesting things myself, probably re-learned it from back in the fourth grade.

Okay so, what sorts of topics are in this book anyway, well, I am certainly glad you asked me. This book has chapters on Poetry, Short Stories, Language, and Speech in the first section. In the second section are Geography, Civilizations, History.

The third section is about Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Sketching, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, and Digital Arts. The Fourth section is about Mathematics – addition, subtraction, division, linear charts, shapes, Roman numerals, decimals, multiplication, fractions, and points on a grid.

The fifth section is all about natural sciences, life sciences, earth sciences, continental drift, volcanoes, earthquakes, forests, and the ocean. If you have this book and are teaching a fourth grade level student you will never be lost. But perhaps more importantly your student won’t be either, and you will be giving them the knowledge they need to move forward. It’s truly amazing how we’ve fallen down in the USA with our education.

It is truly books like this which guarantee our next generation’s progress and education – and we are only as good as our educational system and work in teaching 20-years the prior. Please consider all this.

Review of Robert Kiyosaki’s Book Unfair Advantage

As a member of Rich Dad World, I downloaded the online version of this book for a limited time offer only. This book offers many important financial lessons that will make you realize the importance of being in the B and I quadrants, which I like to summarise below.

The school system teaches students to be employees and does not equip them to make sound financial decision. The financial education in schools teaches kids to send money to the government and banks. These kids grows up and not knowing the difference between a good and a bad investment; a good and a bad advice. True financial education enables you to tell the differences and have people send money to you. Many of the billionaires in the top ten of Forbes list do not have a formal education like having a degree. They knew that school is not the place for them to be who they are today.

In the US, taxes is the highest expense for people from the E and S quadrants. Getting the correct tax advice from the right person is key. The right tax advisor should be able to help you reduce your taxes. With the money saved, it could be channelled into other investments to build your assets to generate income. There are three types of income that you pay taxes on:

• Ordinary income – This draws the highest tax rate, i.e. the harder you work for money as an employee or self-employed, you pay more taxes.

• Portfolio income (aka Capital gains) – This draws the second highest tax rate, i.e. the harder your money works for you, you pay less taxes.

• Passive income – This draws the lowest or zero tax rate, i.e. the harder other people’s money works for you; you pay the least or even no taxes.

I agree with Robert that savers are now losers as lower interest are given by banks to save money in the bank account. Ever since President Nixon took the US currency off the gold standards, money has ceased to be money and became debt. Countries race to devalue their money by printing lots of it to help increase their exports to other countries. This increase inflation thereby lowering your purchasing power, i.e. groceries have become increasingly expensive. So, if you are able to use debt to buy assets and put money in your pocket, that is really an unfair advantage. Many people have become poor because they used debt to buy liabilities that takes money out of their pocket, worst of all they think that the liability is asset.

Robert explains why the following pair of words are Oxymoron for those who are not financially educated. An Oxymoron are words that contradict each other. They are 1) Job Security 2) Saving Money 3) Safe Investments 4) Fair Share 5) Mutual Fund 6) Diversified Portfolio 7) Debt-Free. Risk is inversely related to control. If you have less control means risk goes up in your investment. Rich Dad advised Robert to learn three things if he wanted to to be rich like Rich Dad in the B and I quadrants. The three things to learn are:

• Selling (control income).

• Real estate investing (control debt).

• Technical investing (control markets).

All fund managers advice people to diversify in a portfolio of stocks, bonds and Mutual funds. For those without a sound financial education, they would think this is sound advice. However, the fund manager is still putting your money in one asset class which is paper asset. The four basic asset classes that Robert invests in are 1) Business 2) Real estate 3) Paper assets 4) Commodities. The more you learn and know about these asset classes, the more control you have, your risk will be lowered.

Different class of people focus at different places of the Income Statement and Balance Sheet. The poor focus on expense. The middle-class focus on liabilities. The rich focus on assets. The rich don’t work for money, they make their money work hard for them. Applying the three laws of compensation will allow a person to enjoy infinite Return On Investment, leading to tremendous wealth.

I agree with Robert that we need two types of school. One suited for those who wish to be in the E and S quadrant and the other for the B and I quadrant. In Singapore, some efforts are made to encourage entrepreneurship; some courses related to it have been established like “School of Entrepreneurs”. However this is not in the main stream curriculum that leads to the degree program. Hence, I doubt what Robert proposed will not be seen here for a long time till the USA has a break-through in their education system.