When did school become so geared toward the traditional idea of success that it abandoned the teaching of actual basics?
First comes graduation, then comes college then comes the career without the baby carriage.
Home Economics in high schools provided tools for developing young adults capable of knowing the most basic ways to take care of things at home. A home econ class revamped toward building great adults would do more than even the previous model. I’m sure the course lacked in areas but instead of taking away the program for budget cuts why not take the foundation earlier versions have laid a step further?
I believe a home econ class for today’s generation is needed because so many young adults today definitely could have used it. Myself included. Learning things the hard way when it comes to changing a tire or understanding student loans is a little unnecessary when you’ve spent years in school learning information you may not ever use.
Imagine a course that would go beyond cooking lessons to the garage where it shows students how to change a tire. This course could cover down on all the things schools aren’t teaching right now like how to do your taxes, or how to open a savings and banking account. It could go beyond sewing lessons to teach budgeting, how to price compare consumer products, networking, investing, and more.
A course designed to help students learn things that they will use on a daily basis would benefit the communities in which they are implemented because students would be given the tools needed to become knowledgeable adults in a host of areas. Knowledgeable young adults could then make conscious, informed decisions that could potentially elevate the economy as a whole.
For all of those out there saying “school is not supposed to be responsible for teaching students what parents should” or “Isn’t that what college is for?” then let me further explain…
1. Parents are only able to pass on the knowledge that they have readily available, in many circumstances, parents are not able to give their children certain information on things like taxes, loans, and banking because they do not fully understand it themselves. Factor in the growing number of students that come for low income families and you should realize that there is a knowledge deficit in many American homes toward basic information.
2. Too often students learn a plethora of things in school and never understand how it’s relevant or how to apply it to daily life. Throughout high school and college I zoned out in my required general classes to ask myself “When the %*&! am I ever going to use this?”
And despite the groaning from all the educators out there, it’s a valid question. If you don’t relate/show how understanding basic math is incorporated into things like finances and cooking then young Tiffany will continue to see math as a language she doesn’t understand.
Young Tiffany will then make basic mistakes in finances due to her lack of understanding that will affect her life for years to come. Now, Tiffany is on government assistance, she can’t cook, and doesn’t know how to put air in a tire but at least she remembers y = mx + b from high school algebra.
OK, Ok, I know that was a little dramatic but you get my point. You can’t not give a generation the tools they need or make getting a college degree a luxury item but then complain that they aren’t being good stable citizens. Speaking of college it brings me to my next point…
3. For the “isn’t that what college is for?” crowd, please understand that college is not for everyone and if a young student doesn’t learn the basis of loans, interest, networking, budgeting etc…then they are only going to end up like young Tiffany even if they attend a higher education institution.
Even if they don’t the main issue is not whether high school should be responsible for teaching these things but the real question is; Why wouldn’t you want your tax dollars invested in a course that would build a foundation in becoming a stable adult for those who will be responsible for taking the torch from you.
Our communities are not what they were 50 years ago. Little Aaron may not learn networking from his father at the barbershop because his father may not be present for various reasons.
College for many young adults is an avenue for self-destruction once they enter without the tools necessary in understanding what they are getting themselves into financially, economically, and educationally. The following is an excerpt from a Forbes article that articulates the disparity of high school preparation brilliantly.
Millennials do demonstrate a sobering measure of hindsight, though. 57% report that they now regret how much they borrowed and, more sadly, over a third say they wouldn’t even have gone to college if they had realized in advance the true price tag of their education. Both stats point to a glaring knowledge gap in the high school to college pipeline that ostensibly focuses on preparing students for college academics, but neglects to inculcate any understanding of the economic realities of this path.
So, little Aaron went to college, took out student loans, got decent grades but didn’t understand networking or the impact of loans. Now he has a BS in biology working at Best Buy. He has $40,000 in student loans because he was told he needed to go to college to be successful but wasn’t given the tools or “how to” before he got there. Schools at the earliest levels are institutions for learning but can you really say you taught someone something if they don’t know how to apply it to life outside of school?
Some states still implement a home econ course in their high school curriculum as a part of a student’s general education. I remember stories of the home econ teacher at my local high school (S/O Mullins, SC ) from my older sisters. I couldn’t wait to take the class only to find out that they had gotten rid of it. So when buttons were falling off my favorite coat and my boyfriend expertly sewed it back on for me; I tried to take the shock out of my voice when I asked him how he knew how to sew. His reply…home econ in high school.
It would be wonderful if the same response were true for other skills that would actually uplift young adults. I believe a class like this could assist in deterring the ever growing mountain of debt that my generation unwittingly and necessarily accumulated. Millennials now have accumulated 1.2 trillion dollars in student loan debt as a result of the ever rising tuition and college expenses. We are now holding off on things like purchasing a home, a new vehicle, and investment because we simply can’t afford it.
Would it be too much to think that students should graduate with the skills needed to combat some of these issues by understanding the realities more?
Is the concept of a course geared toward this information overzealous? Let me know what you all think. Comment or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Found this article that says a lot of the same things and almost shouted because now I know that information I put out is real and relevant: