I believe that we need to get back to basics with some of our educational programming. I don’t mean that we should shun technology or not use innovation. What I truly want to see integrated in to curriculum are the basics of survival in 2012. If I were to write state-wide mandated curriculum it would include the following, even as short courses:
1. Personal Finance. How to balance a checkbook, write checks, keep track of expenditures, make a budget and live within your means. When the credit card is for “emergencies” this means to use when the car breaks down or a fire has happened in your home. Shoe shopping is NOT an emergency! My hope is that if personal finance is taught then the amount of people who have filed for bankruptcy will decline in the future.
2. Nutrition and wellness. How many calories actually are in the fast foods we eat so often? How can you cook from home in a healthy manner. What symptoms should result in calling the doctor?
3. How to use your brain and not your calculator. I swear that if a person can’t make change from $2 for a purchase that is $1.79 without using the automated cash register or calculator then they should stop working in retail. Why? Because, it only takes one power outage or computer glitch to ruin a business due to a whole staff who may be math illiterate.
4. How to put gas in your car and other car service information. Unless you live in New Jersey- you must know how to fill your car. Flat tire.. don’t wait for car service. It can be hours until they arrive.
5. CPR and other basic life saving information. The life you save could be that of your family member or best friend, so take the time and learn the basics.
6. What to do in an emergency weather situation. How many times have we seen people stuck in their cars due to trying to drive through flooded roads?
7. How to answer the phone, make business calls and other ways to interact with people, including public speaking. “Ya know” is not professional language and saying it while chewing gum doesn’t help.
8. Resume writing. There will come a time when many will need this skill. So let’s learn it before it is too late!
9. How to WRITE a note. There are times in your life that a real card expressing thanks, sympathy or congratulations will be necessary. Learn to write more than two lines and be genuine before you graduate from High School.
10. How to volunteer. Some states require that students should have service hours to graduate. What some learn is that you show up to volunteer but don’t really learn anything. To be a real volunteer you should show passion and compassion. This is an art form and apparently for some, needs to be taught and not just acquired.