Interesting thought on high school education: What impact has the gradual phasing out of programs like home economics (aka family studies) and shop (design and technology) had on the students leaving the school system? My mother and I had a rather large discussion about such things a few weeks ago, apropos of something the CBC was talking about. She maintains that home ec teaches valuable life skills that, while they are not necessarily so appealing on an academic level, are certainly essential in terms of the actual living of life. When she was my age, she could--and did--make her own clothes, make her own pastry, cook five course meals, mend socks, balancing budgets and other such "homemaker"-esque things. Now, my hand sewing and needlework skils are adequate, I like to think my cooking is above that, but sewing machines frighten me and my math skills began to atrophy as soon as I stopped using them. Certainly, however, I am an exception, as my cooking and sewing skills stem from personal interest in such things (and a lot of reading books set in time periods where girls were expected to do these things).
So to counter my mother's argument that such things were valuable life skills that my generation was lacking, I maintain that if such a school program were to be brought back, it would make sense to implement another program that would teach other valuable life skills, like changing flat tires on a car and changing fuses (both of which are things I wish I knew how to do).
Of course, as we move closer and closer to cutting all the extra 'fat' out of our curriculum, it is unlikely that either of these programs would even see the light of day...and students wouldnt' be much interested in them, besides. But, still, food for thought.