Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » BECKY HOME-ECKY

    Filed at 6:45 am under by dcobranchi

    Jennifer Grossman, writing in the NYT, suggests that it’s time to bring back Home Ec in order to combat childhood (and adult) obesity.

    The new home economics should be both pragmatic and egalitarian. Traditional topics — food and nutrition, family studies, home management — should be retooled for the 21st century. Children should be able to decipher headlines about the dangers of dioxin or the benefits of antioxidants. Subjects like home finance might include domestic problem-solving: how would you spend $100 to feed a family of four, including a diabetic, a nursing mother and infant, for one week?

    While this kind of training might most benefit those low-income minority children at highest risk of obesity, all children will be better equipped to make smart choices in the face of the more than $33 billion that food companies spend annually to promote their products. And consumer education is just part of the larger purpose: to teach kids to think, make, fix and generally fend for themselves.

    Some detractors will doubtless smell a plot to turn women back into stitching, stirring Stepford Wives. Others will argue that schools should focus on the basics. But what could be more basic than life, food, home and hearth? A generation has grown up since we swept home ec into the dust heap of history and hung up our brooms. It’s time to reevaluate the domestic discipline, and recapture lost skills.

    Hey, we’re cutting edge.

    5 Responses to “BECKY HOME-ECKY”

    Comment by
    September 2nd, 2003
    at 10:20 am

    I don’t see why people should be scared of adding Home Ec to the curriculum… in the late 80s, when I was in middle school, we had to take a semester’s worth of Home Ec each year. Everybody had to. (The other semester was in “shop” class. In 7th grade we got to do metalwork and drafting, in 8th grade more drafting and woodwork.) One quarter of Home Ec was sewing, the other was cooking. We even had a field trip to a farmer’s market in Home Ec.

    In any case, all kids should know how to sew on a button and be able to plan and cook a meal without benefit of microwave. It was sad to go to college and find which kids couldn’t even handle doing their own laundry.

    Comment by
    September 2nd, 2003
    at 11:44 am

    Grossman, former education director of the libertarian Cato Institute, now wants taxpayers to pay for students to learn food prep and button sewing?

    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 2nd, 2003
    at 12:02 pm

    A strange position for the libertarian Cato Institute. I guess the thinking here is that if we’re going to have g-schools, there are less important things to study than Home Ec.

    Comment by
    September 2nd, 2003
    at 3:18 pm

    I think the schools at one time must have been considered an important part of public health. I remember that in whatever Little House book it is where Laura teaches school, she has to teach hygiene to the pioneer children. This was before there were health departments as we know them, of course. I wonder if home ec. courses are a holdover from that, in some way.

    Comment by
    September 3rd, 2003
    at 1:28 pm

    Hygiene. Hmm. Can you imagine the uproar if we allowed the schools to teach the kids how to take care of themselves MEDICALLY?