School should implement home ec course

September 9, 2019 — by Alan Zu

As students graduate and leave the Saratoga community, many often need to acquire skills necessary for success in adult life. Currently, the school provides a two-day crash-course for graduating seniors to teach them life skills; however, this two-day lesson is too short to actually be effective. 

What might work? One idea is to have various AP classes emphasize these skills after AP testing wraps up in May. These three-week units would teach basic life skills, such as how to cook, how to perform laundry and how to pay taxes.

While Saratoga High does an extremely good job of preparing students in terms of academics and technical skills, it isn’t as strong at teaching basic life skills. It’s great that a graduating student can get a job at a tech-savvy startup in the Silicon Valley, but they should also be able to cook for themselves and clean their house.

Eating out every day for three meals a day is not healthy or cost effective. With obesity on the rise, more training is needed in schools to encourage healthy eating.

Beyond college, basic financial literacy is also absolutely necessary. Filing taxes for the first time is confusing for just about anybody, even more so for a college student getting his or her first job or creating a startup in his or her dorm and starting to sell his or her products. 

Instead of being frustrated, worrying about every technicality and document, the student will have a much easier time paying taxes or keeping proper financial records after learning the techniques in a home ec class.

By teaching students to be more aware of what they are buying, students can use their money much more wisely. Instead of feeling inclined to empty their wallets whenever entering a store, the student will be able to make a better decision for themselves, being more aware of their financial situation before deciding to buy any item.

Besides all these reasons, home ec would also be a fun and relaxing break after the AP exams. 

After AP exams, classes such as Calculus BC no longer have any course to teach. The current classes try to fill up the last three weeks by implementing projects such as presentations from AP Language, surveys from AP statistics, and teaching from AP CS.

However, some current projects are problematic in containing not enough work, where students will waste time, having nothing to do once their short project is completed.

Instead of worrying about implementing an independent class solely for home ec, the school can provide students with AP classes this option after their AP exam as an alternative to their class projects. Students can utilize the last three weeks after the exam much more efficiently, and they can also learn essential life skills which will help them greatly later in college and in life.

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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