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Prepare OUSD Students For Real Life

This petition had 49 supporters

The public school system teaches many academic subjects in order to prepare students for college, yet many teach no real life lessons such as paying taxes or writing a resume. The lack of real life skills taught in schools is problematic because students aren’t being prepared to function in the real world. Without basic skills for handling challenges in the real world, even top students struggle after leaving school. We believe this issue stems back to the lack of an emphasis on practical skills and teaching human qualities in school. Stephanie Berger, a Montera Middle School teachers, said in her interview with Mason Acosta that, “human qualities, these human traits, unfortunately, in my opinion, aren’t being valued enough. So somebody’s math score is more important than who’s in charge than their ability to listen or empathize or communicate. I think that’s wrong, but I think that’s why they don’t teach these skills because they feel pressured to teach all the curriculum they need to test or teach so that their students can pass the test.” It seems that in school there’s more focus on memorizing and spitting back information for tests than on actually preparing students for the world they will face after graduation. Without knowledge of life skills, students are undergoing unnecessary suffering when they graduate from school and have to make a life and career for themselves in the real world.

We ask that Oakland Unified School District adds a life skills elective because we want every student in Oakland to be able to learn skills crucial to thriving both professionally and personally in the world after school. We propose adding an elective so that taking the class would not interfere with students course requirements, and so that they could choose to take the class when they see most fit. After conducting a survey of 69 students, we found that the vast majority of students did not feel as if their school was preparing them for life after completing their education. Additionally, because many students do not learn the life skills necessary to thrive after school from their parents, students in need of extra support are left essentially without help. With the addition of a life skills elective, these vulnerable students will be able to learn important skills such as household finances, applying for a job, starting a career, and more. Out of the students surveyed, 94% supported the idea of adding a life skills class to their school’s curriculum. Everyone deserves an equal chance in life, and by adding a life skills elective to prepare students for dealing with the obstacles they will undoubtedly encounter, we hope to take a critical step in helping the people who leave the education system with no idea what to do next.



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