Family and Consumer Sciences Education
The focus of the academic standards for family and consumer sciences (FCS)
education is the individual, the family, and the community. The economic,
social, and political well-being of our state depends on the well-being of
Pennsylvania’s families. The family is responsible for nurturing its members.
Family experiences, to a great extent, determine who a person is and what they
become. Family and consumer sciences curriculum supports the development of the
knowledge and skills that students need as family members both now and in the
FCS is the discipline that help students address family problems, such as
divorce and domestic violence, which often are a result of poor communication
skills; financial or consumer related problems; health problems related to poor
nutrition; challenges in understanding and raising our children; and a generally
stressed lifestyle, filled with time and resource management problems are all
too common to society.
In many schools FCS is viewed as ‘elective,’ outdated, and unnecessary for
all students. In many schools, it is regarded as ‘common sense’ that any
intelligent student can master alone. Yet, as noted above, we know these
problems have no barriers and affect all cultures. FCS provides the knowledge,
skills, and habits of the mind that can make a difference. It is not just
While it is easy to recognize the importance of literacy and math skills for
future success, too often we do not recognize the importance positive human
relationships, good nutrition, and a balanced lifestyle play in the ability of
students to come to school ready to learn and to enter the ‘adult’ world ready
to fulfill their role as productive citizens and to raise strong families. We
spend enormous amounts of taxpayers' dollars attempting to deal with these
challenges, but often overlook the importance of prevention.
Family and consumer sciences standards were passed into law, January, 2003.
They are designed to address the ills of society for the 21st century and are
clearly written and rigorous. The standards speak to the challenges we face as
members of a global society and can be delivered in a traditional manner or lend
themselves to integration and collaboration with other disciplines.
FCS courses must require all students to investigate and plan for possible
careers, develop practical skills for employment, develop financial literacy,
manage resources, and practice positive communication skills. FCS education
should engage students in identifying individual, family and community issues
using the Family, Career and
Community Leaders of America
(FCCLA) planning process. The course needs to
be authentic and stress teamwork, leadership, and technology.
The standards document includes academic standards for family and consumer
sciences at four grade levels (third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth) with the
emphasis on what students will know and be able to do in the following
- 11.1. Financial and Resource Management
- 11.2. Balancing Family, Work, and Community Responsibility
- 11.3. Food Science and Nutrition
- 11.4. Child Development
The family and consumer sciences discipline is composed of strong subject
matter concentrations that form a framework for learning based on these tenets:
- Families are the fundamental unit of society.
- An understanding of individual and family development helps create strong
families whose members are lifelong learners.
- Meeting individual and family needs inside and outside the home are shared
- Individual, family, and community well-being is strengthened through an
awareness of diversity.
- The use of diverse modes of inquiry strengthens intellectual development.
- The content learned in family and consumer sciences classes enhances and
supports the mastery of academic standards.
- Standards-based learning within family and consumer sciences classrooms can
best be demonstrated through performance-based assessment.
The academic standards for family and consumer sciences are written to
empower individuals and families to manage the challenges of living and working
in a diverse, global society. These academic standards address the functioning
of families and their interrelationships with work, community, and society. The
focus is on the recurring, practical problems of individuals and families.
Comprehensive classroom experiences allow students to develop the knowledge and
skills needed to identify, create, and evaluate goals and alternative solutions
to significant problems of everyday life. Students are taught to take
responsibility for the consequences of their actions as they make choices about
personal, family, and work responsibilities.