Introduction

“Don’t Stay In School.” That’s the title of a rap song on YouTube. More than 11 million people have viewed it. It was created by David Brown, a young twenty-something rapper with long, dyed red hair. He walks along a path in the trees and rants about the education system. Despite the provocative title, however, he isn’t against school.

When I first saw the video, I shared it on Facebook. I’m not the sort of guy who posts pictures of his food. But if I decided to post a hamburger, about a dozen of my friends would politely click “like.” So what do you think happened when I posted “Don’t Stay In School”? In a popularity contest among my friends, a burger would have crushed it.

You see, I’m a schoolteacher. Most of my friends are teachers. The title, “Don’t Stay In School,” was a fly in a glass of wine. But those who watched the video saw the wisdom of its message.

The young rapper’s beef is with the absence of real-world learning. Higher-level mathematics, for example, is mandatory in most schools. Everybody also learns some Shakespeare. But learning about laws, human rights, voting procedures, mortgages, how to get a job, and how to invest aren’t mandatory.

I think most schools let us down. I first started to learn about money from a wealthy mentor. From there, I read more than 400 personal finance books before I turned 35. I boiled my learning down to nine rules of wealth that I should have learned in school. By applying them, I became a debt-free millionaire in ...

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