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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 future.

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In many schools FCS is viewed as ‘elective,’ outdated, and unnecessary for all students.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 ‘common sense.’

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.