The School Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

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Life Skills Over Logarithms

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Although Westminster offers a wide range of academic classes for students, they fail to offer any classes in the areas of shop, home economics, or other more hands on classes. Students want these kinds of classes not only to give their brains a break but also to learn common sense skills such as cooking and construction.

“We have a lot of kids interested in learning how to build things that are more practical and I don’t think, besides ceramics, we have an outlet for kids to do that,” Ms. Pierson, art and photography teacher.

Even though basically every student at WCA is expected to and will go to college, that is not always the best fit for some people. WCA claims that they enroll families not students, but what about the families and high school students who want to go into the military or trade school instead of college? Westminster wants to be a school for all kinds of students and interests, instead of purely producing Ivy League students like places such as MICDS. This is why WCA provides classes such as study skills, but Westminster is still lacking interesting classes for students that just really do not see themselves in college. Providing students with other classes related to things such as shop can help students figure out what they really want to do. Trade school is a much better option for certain people who really thrive on the idea of working with their hands, and going to trade school provides people with a good, steady income without the debt from college or graduate school.

Shop classes are still legitimate classes in today’s world because skilled blue-collar workers are in high demand. The Huffington Post found that manufacturing jobs can produce salaries up to $80,000 a year, and these jobs come with benefits as well. Bosses and companies are having a hard time filling positions with skilled workers, even though there is a substantial unemployment rate in the United States. This can be attributed to the growing decline of importance placed on these kinds of jobs in schools across the country. As the older generation retires, there are not enough people to fill the manufacturing jobs opening up.

“Given the limits of a one-size-fits-all education, it’s hard to imagine how kids with the talent or inclination to qualify for skilled, secure jobs in the trades will even recognize it. The way to discover that you love woodworking is to build a piece of furniture,” Joe Astroth, Chief Education Officer, Autodesk.

Even though many life skills should be taught to students at their own homes and by their own families, students often do not have the opportunity or the time to learn these things. Home economic classes not only teach healthy cooking techniques, but they also frequently teach students how to prepare for job interviews, budget money, and pay bills. Many of them also teach students how to best invest their money and the all the available options for retirement. Since Ms. Pierson is a Westminster alumna, she did not have any home economics classes in high school but still sees the value in them.

“I happened to be interested in building and sewing on my own, so I kinda taught myself how to do those things in college. Although for other kids, I think it would be really helpful.”

The real problems in instituting shop and home economics classes are finding funding, space, and figuring out how to implement them into the curriculum. In order to find money to kickstart and maintain these classes, funding would definitely have to be cut a little bit in some other areas. Funding could be cut quite a bit from areas such as Ipads and a few extra dollars could be found in the athletic department. The money saved up would have to be used to either expand an already existing area in the school, or more likely, add on another part to the school that would be used exclusively for shop. The cooking part of home economics could be done in the cafe as long as regulations would allow it. Fitting these classes into the curriculum would not be too difficult. Shop class could be implemented as a fine art class. Home economics could be split into two parts. The part that pertains more to cooking and sewing could be made a fine art credit, and the part that includes more finance, taxes, etc. could be made a business credit. If Westminster really wants to produce well-rounded and prepared people, shop and home economics classes are crucial to students, especially those who see themselves someplace other than college.

 

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The School Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy
Life Skills Over Logarithms