What is happening?

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Times they are a changin’. With family and consumer science (home economics back in the day) officially gone at Perkins County Schools, this couldn’t be more clear. 

Now, I want to start this by saying I place zero blame on the Perkins County School Board on their choice to eliminate the program. After covering board meetings for nearly three years, I can confidently say I have the utmost respect for the board and the way they conduct business. 

When a program has one to two students in the several courses it offers, the decision to eliminate made the most logical sense. 

It’s easy to place blame on the decision makers. When girls’ golf was in question, several players and parents came to speak on its behalf, saving the program. When FCS was on the chopping block, Mrs. Cathy Ochsner, with support from a few colleagues, was left to fight alone. It was heartbreaking. 

You’re allowed to be upset about the program ending, but before placing blame, ask yourself what you did to stop it. 

The questions I’m asking is, WHY are there only one or two students in these classes? These classes that teach life skills. Skills kids will use forever. Skills kids NEED in the real world. 

What is happening?

What many know as home economics, was changed to family and consumer sciences (FCS) in 1994 to more accurately reflect the complexity of the profession. 

FCS has evolved with society and technology as times have changed, placing emphasis on issues relevant to today’s skills that are critical to successful living and working in the 21st century. 

Classes cover topics like finance, nutrition, responsible parenting, and peaceful conflict resolution.

Ya know, those necessary skills I mentioned before. For life. The world beyond. 

The following is an actual, real-life conversation that took place between myself and my 15-year-old son. I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did, and it’s scary. 

Austin: What are these emails I keep getting from the bank about electronic documents being ready?

Me: Your statement. 

Austin: What’s that?

Me: Your monthly bank statement.

Austin: What’s a bank statement?

Go ahead and read that again if you need to. Yes, that’s correct. My sophomore doesn’t know what a bank statement is. 

This isn’t a Perkins County issue. It’s not a Nebraska issue. With advances in technology, our whole world is changing. 

What is happening?

I won’t lie, reconciling the Rotary bank accounts since becoming treasurer is the first time I’ve done it in probably 15 years, so why would my kid know otherwise?

Being able to continually monitor bank accounts has made the monthly ritual of reconciling obsolete for many, but I’m sure there are a few of ya out there who still do it. 

Now I will take the blame for bank statement ignorance. This I want to stress. As parents, we absolutely have the responsibility of teaching our children life skills. We can’t expect the schools to teach them everything, not by a long shot! 

Teachers are absolutely amazing and do amazing things. They absolutely don’t get enough credit for what they do. 

Clearly as a parent, I’ve failed in the area of the bank statement, along with an ongoing list of many others. 

But you know as well as I do there are kids who receive no education at home at all, and what about them? Where do they learn how to function in the real world? Who teaches them how to be functioning adults, how to pay their bills, how to cook a decent meal, how to invest their money, make a budget?

You Tube I guess.

Austin may not know what a bank statement is, but heaven forbid we teach him that instead of trigonometry. 

Because that will come in useful. {Enter sarcastic eye roll here.}

I think, maybe, we’re placing too many unnecessary requirements on these kids, and they’re still leaving high school not knowing how to boil water or pay the electric bill.  

What is happening?

 

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