As I started to make my son's Halloween costume, a strange creature named Vivi from a game called Final Fantasy, yes I am making it myself, and yes, I know I am ahead of the curve as my Halloween and Christmas and Chanukah shopping is already in full bloom, I was thrust back into my public jr. high school home economics class where I learned how to sew with a sewing machine. Now, if you asked me what I learned in jr. high I would reply: photosynthesis, JFK's assassination and how to sew a dress from a Simplicity pattern. Like bike riding, I was amazed this morning at how quickly I was sewing nice, straight seams, moving with ease as I navigated my homemade pattern. Laying a zipper, making a hem, waistband and even a dart all came back to me with little to no trial and error. I remembered back to a day when I was taught those skills along with rudimentary cooking, music, drama and the basic food groups of learning, science, math, english, history, foreign language and even art, that now being a discarded basic and a vanishing breed of even extra-curricular activities. I remember learning how to draw in 3 D, to make a square into a cube, a room with walls and windows. Skills I use on a daily basis. Lost to current students in the downsizing of education. Even the name of the class, home economics is lost as everyone struggles to find their way in this tech driven/ business society. Any mother or father for that matter who has taken care of her own home economics, cleaning, cooking, mending and minor carpentry skills will lament the lack of respect and remuneration given to those fields yet they are vital to the sustaining of any race of people and are crucial to a public body growing and developing.
I AM NOT SAYING THAT I FACE THAT DAILY ECONOMIC CRISIS, SO ALL YOU SOON-TO- RESPOND-WITH-YOUR-COMMENTS FOLKS TAKE A CHILL PILL AND JUST GO WITH ME HERE.
I am not, for a second, trying even to relate to the daily struggle of a low-income mother trying to raise and educate her children in today's crumbling economy. I am only saying that my ability to sew this outfit, pants, hat, and jacket, with facing and grommets and zippers is only because I was TAUGHT. It reminds me how far we have fallen in giving our children the skills they need to succeed either in the big business world or in the big household world. We are FAILING. In music, art, home-ec, cooking, shop (remember shop?) as well as the basics, according to every study we are FAILING. We are Americans and we are getting an F in educating our children. Wake up and smell the global competition. Twenty other countries beat us in science; we are listed 24th in math. We need to let our elected leaders know that education should be the most important issue in this election. Without it, our children, the future of this great nation, will be unprepared and will watch jobs being given to people from other countries.
I am glad that I was given these skills as part of a basic, public school education. I want that for all children. So that whether they end up a political leader, scientist, teacher, artist or homemaker they all are given the best education possible so that they can develop their God given talents and abilities and flourish and thrive as adults.
Maybe if Obama wins, I will sew him a nice tie to wear for his inauguration.