The game was “Taboo.” The goal was to craft worded clues to get your team to guess a word- phrase under 60 seconds. It was apparent from the start that players purposely skipped or avoided categories that focused on government, biology, and geography. Instead, players preferred pop-culture facts.
But when a player attempted to get their team members to guess any of the “avoided categories,” s/he was meant with discontent and impatience. It was interesting to watch how team members made a conscious choice to lose that round then attempt a guess.
Obviously, a “wordplay“ game is not the ultimate measure of intelligence, but it revealed an educational divide among these eight friends: two college grads and six high school grads. As the game ended, the conversation turned to how the college grads “educational experiences” provided an advantage to win the game. Because it was only they that could response to non pop-culture categories.
It was evident that the high school grads were unaware that many of these word-phrases were elementary and high school level concepts. Realistically, the college grads did not do anything special, but recall information that “show be” common knowledge to most educated high school students in the United States.
As the evening commence, the college grads deflected comments about their intellectual prowess and both seem embarrassed by the attention. This fun night of games quickly turned into a serious conversation about education. Each high school grad disclosed their grievances about their K-12 experience. And, all agree that they secretly find it difficult to tell their own children the importance of a high school education. Each of them saw this time as useless.
“I was forced to read Shakespeare and learn a lot of crap that I didn’t need. I work in a warehouse and no one has ever asked me to recite a poem. My boss only cares if I get there on time; if I can read and follow directions; and add, subtract, and multiply. That’s it”.
“My school had a secretarial classes. But the kids now days… they have to have a certificate from a college. Which is stupid because they could have learned all that secretarial stuff in high school like I did. And, now they gotta pay money for what used to be free”.
“My son is in my old high school and they are doing the same thing when I went there… and that was 35 years ago”.
“ I know that you two [college grads] believe in an education. But, not everyone got what the two of you got”.