Driver’s Education Brakes to Budget Cuts

Cayla Hailwood, Staff Writer

   The prime topic of interest when you are fifteen and a half is the idea of getting your permit.  As students prepare to become safe drivers, the convenient option of taking driver’s education in high school is no longer available.  The question is, why doesn’t West High School offer the course like they used to?  With student’s schedules busier than ever, the idea of bringing driver’s education back into high school would be quite beneficial.  In addition, the added rigor around the course work, if offered in school, would graduate safer drivers.

  Back in the day, most high schools, including West, offered driver’s education for their students.  West Alumni and West High’s Vice Principal, Mrs. Girgis, Class of 1987, explained how she took driver’s education at West High in,  “1986.  It was a semester class.  We would meet Saturday’s for behind the wheel.  [The] District owned the cars, and it was all free.” Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, the Torrance Unified School District no longer includes driver’s education into the curriculum.

  Today, students have to take driver’s education outside of school and pay for it.  With the busy schedule of a high school student, it becomes difficult for students to make time for driving.  If West offered it within school hours, it would be easier for students to fit in the time to learn safe driving. The question is, can the school district introduce driver’s education back into the curriculum if students are willing to pay for it?  Ryan Dawson (12) feels, “that [it] would be a very good idea. [He] would definitely be interested because it’s super convenient and more kids will be able to actually get their license.  Another student, Savannah Caceres (11) added her opinion to the topic stating, “I believe it would be an easier [option] for parents and their kids, especially [having] such an amazing opportunity to learn how to drive at school.”  Both students felt that it would benefit high school students and make the process much simpler.

  So how would it work?  The school district would coordinate with the companies that offer driver’s education and integrate it into the school’s curriculum. Students would be able to take the course as a part of their school schedule and pay for the cost of the course.  The behind the wheel training would be done on their own time with the driving company.  The benefit is that students would be able to take the class  within school hours.  In addition, the class would offer more coverage of the content because it would include more depth, testing, and studying of the topic.  In the end, it would produce safer drivers.

  If students really want to take the course in school, then it should be possible.   Students would pay for the course and would have the ability to include it into their school schedule.  Since this option would allow for studying on the topic of driving, it would produce safer drivers for the future.