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The future is stressful – school should help

New classes teaching real world skills would be beneficial

Kelly Wei

Kelly Wei

When students move out on their own, they must be able to live independently with the skills they have learned in their life. For many, the only way to learn real-world skills is through school.

Anthony Cesario, Coppell High School

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Have you ever felt unprepared for college or life in the “real world”? It is not a comforting feeling, especially when we spend so much time in school, a place designed to help us for our futures.

What happened to the home economics or personal finance classes my parents took when they were in school? The only thing I know how to cook is a frozen pizza; my knowledge of taxes and budgeting is nonexistent. When I go to college and get a place of my own, how will I be able to manage?

Unfortunately, the few classes Coppell High School has offered in the past that taught real world skills — namely, accounting and bank and financial services — no longer exist.

“Sometimes the way the school district determines what they offer might have a lot to do with what the demands are and what TEA [Texas Education Agency] has available for us,” CHS lead counselor Debbie Fruithandler said. “We can’t just offer a course that we think might be good. If we can’t fill those classes up, then we can’t support the program.”

CHS co-associate principal Melissa Arnold said from her experience, classes that teach real world skills are useful, but she agrees that they are declining in demand.

“We have several classes every year that 10, 15 kids sign up for. If we don’t have enough kids to justify making a section of that course, then we drop it,” Arnold said. “Our main goal is to incorporate these real world life application skills into the curriculum of the courses we already offer.”

Arnold also discussed how the world is moving in a direction where kids are being taught more of these life skills, such as cooking or managing a checkbook, at home by their parents.

However, spending all day at school and the rest of the day completing homework leaves little time for our parents to teach us skills such as these. If school were to offer more classes that help students build these skills, it would relieve much of the stress we face when thinking of our future. I know it would make me much more interested in my education.

“I do feel prepared for college, especially since I’ve been taking more [Advanced Placement] classes,” CHS sophomore Anjali Satpathy said. “But for life in general, most of the stuff I’ve learned hasn’t been really beneficial. I think classes like home economics or learning things like taxes and mortgages would help.”

The idea of offering classes that teach more practical skills seems ideal, but sadly, in reality, demand may simply be declining as the years go by. However, some staff members at CHS have shown their support for more real-world application courses, so there is some hope.

“It would be nice to have some courses that help with not only study skills, but with life skills in general,” Fruithandler said. “I do think we might be looking at the leadership class, at the freshman level, maybe revamping that to some degree so it covers a broader range of topics that might help students.”

CHS is a school that prides itself on academics, which is not a bad thing. But while we are busy studying for tests and racing to get the highest GPA, we are not learning skills that will be much more important as we go out into the real world.

Isn’t school supposed to prepare students for the future? There is more to life than simply applying math equations or recalling events we learned in world history. There is a practical side, a side that school seems to be pushing aside; offering more diverse course options is a great way to help kids feel more confident for life when they are out of college and into the real world.

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