TOWNSEND: Schools should prepare students for independence

Life experience courses a must, students blind after high school

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TOWNSEND: Schools should prepare students for independence





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The other day as we were driving home, my mother and I began a very interesting discussion. She had just picked me up from school and we were going to stop by the gas station near our home that sold lottery tickets; we were going to try our luck.

“The winning ticket is just sitting there waiting for us!” she would joke, excited laughter filling the car. I asked her what she would do with the money, what would she buy if she had hit the super-mega-ultra jackpot. She brought up a very concerning point that I hadn’t thought about.

“You know what, I’d probably give it back to the schools. The ones you’ve gone to,” she said, “that’s what the lottery is supposed to be for.”

I sat for a minute and reflected… I hadn’t realized that the lottery was giving supplementary funding to schools. The Californian Lottery sales are increasing constantly. In fact this July the institution announced that the sales were upwards of $6.3 billion – almost one billion more than last year’s numbers. But the schools in the area do not seem to be receiving the benefits from this.
I came back to reality to hear my mom’s answer to the question of her intentions with her imagined winnings.

“I would bring lots of new programs to your school, like, have you ever even heard of auto shop?”

Auto shop? Our school doesn’t even have a driving course. I had never even thought to go as far as hoping for a class dedicated to teaching us how to change a tire or jump-start a car when we break down. Yes, our community has multiple driving schools in the area – I’m sure you almost know the All-Good Driving school commercial played in Eye of the Tiger by heart at this point.

And I get that we, as a school, are supportive of our local businesses. But, our school providing us with a mandatory course on safe driving, the rules of the road, or even changing a headlight would be all of the difference to families who may not have the funding to do so for their child.

The lack of driving courses here at Roseville High school has been shocking to not only my mother, but my grandparents and other extended family members.

When asked if I even knew how to change a tire, I had to say no. Not every child has someone to teach them how to fix a flat tire when they’re stuck alone on the side of the road and that knowledge when on your way to or from school could save your day. Because I don’t have this knowledge, I have felt less prepared on the road.

Our school system is so adamant about preparing students for college, that while piling AP course after AP course on our backs, they forget to teach us real-life lessons. Sure, we have our personal finance course – that is, outside of class.

Why don’t we as developing independents get to take courses like Drivers Ed in school? Isn’t school supposed to prepare us for adult life? And if not that, even just preparing us for college – that insinuates the idea that we are becoming adults.

Adults need to know how to drive; adults need to be able to take action in stressful or upsetting situations like a car’s breakdown. If our schools taught a class encasing these things, it would allow students more time outside of school to get our schoolwork and studying done without the added time out of school spent on readying ourselves for the future.

A driving class offered in Roseville High school would be difficult to obtain; I’m not oblivious to that fact. I can safely assume that getting thirty to forty students in cars during one class period and driving around would be almost impossible. But allowing students to finish the online courses, teaching them how they can drive in a safer manner and how they can manage an emergency would definitely push us as students further into our adult life of independence and efficacy.

My mom did not end up hitting the jackpot. We drove home and I went back into my room to study for an AP Government exam. I thought to myself, wow. Our school has so many amazing courses for us. I have been able to take classes on psychology, theatre, physiology and I am looking forward to taking musical theatre and biomedical science in the spring. It is possible to create a class. I know because the divisions of drama classes into “comedy-improv”, “musical theatre” and simply “beginners drama” happened to occur in my junior year.

So I propose an addition to the class list at Roseville High. A mandatory life-preparation course. A course in which students review the rules of the road and safe driving tendencies. In which students learn how to change a tire or fill out tax forms, or registers to vote when they come of age. How to apply for a job, or an internship.

Perhaps they use the time to help students in their personal finance courses and show them how to make and keep good spending habits. The process of buying a house, or renting an apartment. All of these things, if taught now, would better prepare us students for life outside of high school.

It would prepare us for independent life, for adulthood. So Roseville High School, head: this. You are doing an amazing job advocating advanced courses, encouraging students to go to college – not only that, but to do so well and work so hard enough in high school that they get into the best of colleges.

But how are you preparing them for life outside of academics and career-life? What can you do to create educated, empowered and independent citizens of our society?