Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bring Back Home Ec!

"Are we a nation of financial illiterates?" asks Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics.

Dubner points out that a lot of basic money skills used to be taught in home ec, but that class fell by the wayside many years back. But there are still a lot of life skills kids in schools aren't learning. If I had the option, here are the things I'd toss onto a new and improved "home economics" curriculum:

-comprehensive sex ed. (the recession doesn't create teen pregnancy, unprotected sex does)
-basics of home safety (don't throw water on a grease fire, etc)
-how to balance a checkbook
-how to save (including basic differences between retirement accounts, stocks vs. funds, education accounts, etc)
-nutrition (or did I imagine the whole trans fats storm?), perhaps with cooking lessons (delicious!)
-how to change a flat tire

What else could go on this list? What else do people need to know that they just aren't learning in schools? Dubner is right, Flaubert means nothing when you're hanging out on the darkened shoulder of I-95, cars whizzing blindly by, as you wonder why both your left wheel and your spare are busted, and where the hell AAA is.

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