When I was in school I only learned TWO things about credit! First, I learned that if I turned some work in to my teacher that was beyond what was required, I received 'extra credit' which improved my grades. Second, I learned in a high school accounting class (an elective class) that deposits to my checking account were called credits. That was it!
Throughout the post-high-school-graduation portion of my life I have actually had no further interaction with either of these two concepts. My employers have never offered any extra credit tasks, although I have volunteered and performed tasks regularly that were beyond what was required. Unfortunately, and quite contrary to what I learned in school, my extra efforts at work were not immediately rewarded with a pay hike for each extra effort. Welcome to the real world! Regarding the whole deposits are called credits thing, well my checkbook register includes BOTH terms anyway - "Deposits/Credits" - so nothing important there.
What the real world (not the television show) has required me to know about credit was not something I learned about during my public school education at all. The real world taught me that if I wanted to buy something expensive (my second car, for example - 'cause my first car was a $200 POS) I would need to apply for a loan. OK, no problem. Then I learned that the requirement to get a loan approved was that I have CREDIT, with a good credit score. Hmmm, I had NO credit and had NO score...therefore, loan denied. Why didn't somebody tell me this was coming???
Eventually, I was exposed to the vicious cycle of:
> you can't get a loan without having credit and
> you can't get credit without having some kind of loan...duh!
With a little help, I learned how to "break-in" to this circuitous torture track. After many years of revolving around this track, I am not so sure it was the right decision, though! I am still learning on a regular basis how financial decisions I made when I was fresh out of high school have negatively affected my life and the lives of my family. Yes, I have had nice cars, a home and a business - all because of credit and loans. On the other hand, I have also had them all taken away - all because of credit and loans (and a super bad economy).
My point for all of this talk about credit is that I believe the public educational system epically failed to provide me with the right knowledge I needed to make competent financial decisions. Therefore, based on my own financial experience, I make my next suggestion that we push our public schools to implement a mandatory class on financing and credit. Let's teach our children instead of forcing them to "wing it."