Keep 9-R family, consumer science courses

It was with a great deal of sadness and disappointment that I read of 9-R’s recommendation to drop the family and consumer sciences, or FACS, classes at Miller and Escalante middle schools (Herald, April 14). I believe this to be a shortsighted decision made by those who give lip service to education being all about the students.

If there is ever a need for hands-on, personalized classes with diversity, special interest, independent skills, decision-making and career possibilities, it is at the middle school level. These classes provide a comprehensive foundation for managing individual, family, career and community roles and responsibilities. The curriculum is far beyond foods, sewing and crafts. Colorado’s middle school curriculum is aligned with model content standards in math, science and language arts, putting together core academics in a practical real-life manner. Students study and explore personal financial literacy/consumerism, foods and nutrition, child development, interior design, personal development and relationships, clothing and textiles and career exploration. These are important areas that are not always addressed in our busy homes.

These classes also are an important component in the individual career and academic plan mandated by the state and begins in eighth grade. Numerous careers can stem from FACS classes, but 9-R students will not be exposed to them – with the exception of Pro Start, a highly specialized culinary-arts class – as they are not included in the high school curriculum, either.

When will we move away from our fixation on academics only? To prepare students to become postsecondary and workforce-ready, they should be exposed to multiple curriculum areas. The decision to close departments with expensive equipment is expedient because the teachers are retiring. This month, more student teachers with FACS and career and technical education degrees will graduate from Colorado State University. How about some real leadership and vision? For the kids’ sake, forget this recommendation and search for dynamic FACS teachers who will inspire students to succeed in every aspect of their lives.

As a professional educator in the field of family and consumer sciences, I know this is possible

Carol L. Blatnick