Kay Steiger has an interesting idea:
The second part of that is proposing a shift to including valuable life skills in part of a standard public education. Rather than taking a home ec class where students are asked to make a pan of brownies in one week of a six-week class, why not take a life skill like cooking seriously as part of a comprehensive education? After all, the default has be come that people need to opt in to learning how to cook rather than opting out.
I’d actually like to see schools take on other life skills as part of a required education: learning basic financial skills about how to use a credit card, comprehensive sex education, and learning how to buy for and cook healthy, balanced meals on a budget. After all, these are skills that everyone can use. Rather than assuming everyone pick them up outside of the education system, why don’t we make them part of a required education along with math, English, and physical education?
These sound like pretty good ideas to me. At the same time, it would be a pretty good idea to actually teach everyone to read, write, and do basic math in school and at the moment we’re a pretty long way off. So in some respects, I hesitate to suggest that we should be expanding the scope of the curriculum. On the other hand, perhaps one can make the case that a richer curriculum with a more practical orientation could help people stay engaged with school. Certainly it seems like something worth thinking about.