Home Economics & Civics
What ever happened to the two courses that were cornerstone programs of public education? For one, convenience foods made learning how to cook seem irrelevant. Home Economics was also gender driven and seemed to stratify women, even though most well paid chefs are men. Also, being considered a dead-end high school program, in a world that promotes continuing education, it has waned in popularity. With both partners in a marriage working, out of necessity or choice, career-minded couples would rather go to a restaurant or simply micro-burn a frozen pre-prepared food packet. Almost anybody that enjoys the preparation of food can make a career of it by going to a specialty school such as the Culinary Institute of America along the Hudson River in Hyde Park, New York. Also, many colleges now have programs that are directed to those that are interested in cooking as a career. However, what about those that are looking to other career paths but still have a need to effectively run a household? Who among us is still concerned with this mundane but necessary avocation that so many of us are involved with? Public Schools should be aware that the basic requirements to being successful in life include how to balance and budget a checking and a savings account. We should all be able to prepare a wholesome, nutritious and delicious meal, make a bed and clean up behind one’s self, not to mention taking care of children that may become a part of the family structure. Now, note that this has absolutely nothing to do with politics and is something that members of all parties can use.
Civics is different and is deeply involved in politics and how our government works. However, it doesn’t pick sides…. What it does do is teach young people the basics of our democracy. Teaching how our Country developed out of the fires of a revolution, fought out of necessity because of the imposing tyranny of the British Crown is central. How our “Founding Fathers” formed this union with checks and balances, allowing us to live free, is imperative. Unfortunately not enough young people are sufficiently aware of the sacrifices made, so that we can all live free. During the 1930’s, most people understood and believed it was important that we live in and preserve our democracy. People then understood what Patrick Henry meant when in 1776 he proclaimed “Give me liberty or give me death.” During the 1940’s, we fought a great war against Fascist dictatorships. A total of sixty million people were killed during that war, which amounted to 3% of everyone on the planet. If someone tells us that there is not enough money in the budget, or that Civic courses are not necessary or important, they are effectively undermining our Democracy. Having been born during the great Depression of the 1930’s, and having lived and lost family during World War II, I understand the importance of having Civics taught in our schools. Our country and our way of life are all too valuable to be squandered because of ignorance.
Over 90 million eligible voters didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election. This means that 40% of our fellow citizens failed to exercise their right to vote! Perhaps they didn’t understand their duty or how vital their vote is. Perhaps it’s time to reinvigorate what it means to be a patriotic citizen. It’s definitely time to reinstitute some of the basic courses that teach our children how our American way of life works. Or do we have to relive history again?