Tina K. Russell

October 24, 2008

Home ec: how to survive after graduating

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Tina Russell @ 4:03 pm

Letter – Home Ec, Alive and Well – NYTimes.com
To the Editor:

Re “Thriftiness on Special in Aisle 5” (Business Day, Oct. 14):

Home economics is not a “lost art.” It is alive and well, living under the name of family and consumer sciences education.

Every day in New York State alone, where family and consumer sciences education is mandatory at the middle-school level and an elective in high school, hundreds of thousands of students receive instruction in valuable life skills like financial literacy (budgeting and money management), nutrition (how to make healthy food choices) and consumer resource management (how to be an educated consumer).

For many of the reasons stated in the article and as someone studying to be a family and consumer sciences teacher, I believe that this course of study, now more than ever, should be supported and expanded in our public schools to help prepare future generations for the economic challenges we will all face.

Betsy Jordan

West Nyack, N.Y., Oct. 14, 2008

As somebody with a complex over not having taken home ec (or “family and consumer sciences education,” which seems entirely too long-winded), I wholly endorse this letter to the editor. By now, at the higher education level, my only choice for cooking classes is non-credit “Party Dishes to Wow Them” drivel.

I know it’s my responsibility to be a better homemaker, but I kind of wish I had some help. Yes, I mentioned before that I’ve been to almost every kind of alternative school there is (except for Montessori, dammit), and it seems they all had one thing in common: the fervent belief that their children will be fine if they grow up without having learned personal finance, wise consumption, or, you know, cooking. Apparently kids from alternative schools can subsist on frozen waffles all their lives. @#%$!

I blame it on my alternative education out of spite, sure (and as I’ve noted before, I’m extremely grateful for an offbeat education; a “real” high school would have eaten me alive, licked my flesh from its teeth, and spit out my bones before letting out a satisfied braaaaap), but I’d imagine plenty of schools are cutting family and consumer whatever from their budgets these days. So as long as students never have to buy anything, or maintain a house, or take out a loan, or take care of a family, or eat, they’ll be fine!

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1 Comment »

  1. And good Lord, do they need it. Ladies come into my house and don’t know how to cook anything that doesn’t go in a microwave, can’t start a dishwasher, and think that rent is what vouchers are for so they can spend money on cell phones and sunglasses and getting their nails done.

    Comment by Hannah — October 24, 2008 @ 5:44 pm


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