Life skills still needed

When students first enter the Independent School District 696 as a kindergarten student, they are taught skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Simple things like keeping your hands to yourself, learning how to stand in line and being sure to flush are all skills that will stay with you throughout life.
We’d like to think every child is taught these skills at home but we’re not naive. More and more parenting skills are being transferred from the home to the classroom.
Unless we want to shoulder the problem of having graduates not ready to be productive members of society, maybe it’s time to take another look at what we expect from school districts.
At the grocery store this week, a young woman was purchasing a ready made sandwich with food stamps. The elderly woman running the till could only think, “Why doesn’t she buy a loaf of bread and some lunch meat? It would be much cheaper!”
A life skill not yet learned. If students are not taught the difference between buying a 10 oz. product for $2 or the same product in a 40 oz. container for $5, they’re going to spend more than they should and have less to spend on other necessities.
Our local school district has had to make numerous changes in order to survive. Fewer kids means fewer dollars from the state. Add in the pressure of keeping up with test scores and we’ve got a recipe for cutting too deep.
There isn’t a home economics class being taught anymore. If our graduates aren’t learning how to measure a one-quarter cup of flour or sew a button on a shirt, they’re likely never to learn.
Cursive writing is largely being eliminated and some believe there’s too much emphasis on reading literature versus being able to spell.
Life skills need to be part of the curriculum. Does this mean offering more shop classes at the expense of math and science? No, it does not.
But there are too many examples of young people with four year degrees and $100,000 in student loans being outdone in life by a classmate with a vocational degree earning $70,000 operating heavy equipment without any debt.
Of course if we don’t teach kids how to balance a checkbook or why financing your life on credit cards is a bad idea, their income level may not mean much.
More and more our local, county, state and federal governments are having to spend money on human services. Even the Ely city council put aside additional monies in next year’s budget for just that type of expense.
By weaving life skills into a student’s education at the Ely school district, we can help do our part to have graduates who can stand on their own without looking for heating assistance, subsidies or a free lunch.
The Ely school district has a high ratio of families that qualify for free lunches due to low income levels. Giving current students better life skills will go a long way toward breaking that tradition.