My local newspaper ran an article about the disappearance of Home Economics classes from high school curriculums.
10 years ago it wasn’t cool to take a Home Economics class. I opted for that course instead of Calculus. Most students took Calculus, but surely after high school and going out on their own there must have been a little slice of regret and humble pie for them, especially if they found themselves eating Chef Boyardee and Cream of Mushroom Soup recipes while they worked on their cooking chops.
One explanation for why the demand for Home Economics has declined is because those skills aren’t valued anymore, so they claim. It’s like people have given up. They throw their hands up in the air and go “I don’t have TIME for this!” Meanwhile, there’s as much time today as their was 50 years ago. Perhaps we’re just not using it wisely.
Nonetheless, it also exposes a weakness when school systems set their priorities on math and sciences instead of real-world skills.
If I were a business teacher at a high school you know what I would do? Each year my students would be required to start their own business or other corporation. They’d file whatever papers they have to fill out with the government, learn how to build, sell, and market a product or service. Even better, they could start non-profits to benefit a cause that means something to them. The teacher’s only role is to guide each team to success and teach some core fundamentals.
This can happen with one exception; those kids have to want this.
The idea wouldn’t be to create a bunch of little startups in garages that make the next Apple or Facebook, but if that happened I don’t think it would be a bad thing. And if those businesses never went anywhere at least they could put it on their resume. How many resumes have you seen from candidates who had the courage to start something before they were 18?
Maybe that’s not really possible or realistic, but I think an experience like that would teach kids a lot more about life after high school than a lot of these other classes can. Plus those students would leave high school with something incredibly valuable; knowledge of how to generate their own income.