National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences Education: Perceptions of Parents, Professionals, and Vocational Administrators
Smith, Bettye P., Hall, Helen C., Jones, Karen H., Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences
The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions ofparents, professionals, and vocational administrators regarding the National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) curriculum. The National Standards were developed by the National Association of State Administrators offamily and Consumer Sciences. Participants in this study included parents of FCS students, members of the Georgia Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (GAFCS), and vocational administrators for FCS education programs. Participants were asked to indicate, first, if they thought the standard should be taught in the FCS program and, second, if they believed the standards were being taught in FCS programs with which they were familiar. All three groups generally supported the inclusion (ie., should be taught) (74 to 96% yes responses) of the standards in all seven FCS curricular areas. However, the percentages ofparents' responses in the affirmative were lower than those for vocational administrators or professionals on whether the standards should be taught. The percentage of participants who responded in the
affirmative that the seven curricular areas were being taught in the curriculum was lower for all three groups: 57-81 %for vocational administrators, 34-55%for professionals, and 42-59% for parents. A large number of both parents and professionals were uncertain or did not respond when asked if the standards were being taught in the FCS curriculum with which they were familiar.
In 1993, a group of professionals met in Scottsdale, AZ to change the name of the professional field previously known as home economics to family and consumer sciences (FCS). This name change was intended to reflect more accurately the mission and role of the profession and was an impetus for subsequent changes. For teacher education programs, the name change was an opportunity to review and revise course offerings. For public school programs in middle and high schools, the occasion of the name change provided an opportunity to review the content and role of programs.
Historically, home economics programs in high schools focused on teaching basic living skills. Two decades ago, East (1980) observed that basic skills were defined by society, and changes in society produced identity issues and stress points for home economics. Klein (1993) examined changing roles in the home and their implications for the secondary FCS curriculum. She cited the entry of women in the workplace as an incentive to changes in the work of the home from the woman's responsibility to a shared responsibility. Thus, considerable changes have occurred in FCS during the past two decades in response to changing social needs (Erwin et al., 1996)
In response to changing roles of society and FCS curriculum, the National Association of State Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences (NASAFCS) undertook a project to develop a set of discipline content standards for each subject matter area in FCS. Kister (1997) described discipline content standards as the subject-specific knowledge and skills that programs were expected to teach and students were expected to learn. Discipline content standards describe the goals for individual student achievement. Kister further stated that standards provide direction for the skills and abilities that should be the focus of future instruction and assessment. According to Kister, adoption of National Content Standards was important in order for FCS to position itself in the education reform movement and in mainstream education. A draft of the FCS national standards was presented at the national conference of the American Vocational Association (AVA) (now the Association for Career and Technical Education, or ACTS) in December 1997. A final draft was published in May 1998. The national standards committee identified 16 subject matter (discipline content) standard areas for FCS. Of the 16, the following seven content standards that are included in a comprehensive FCS program were the focus of this study: family; nutrition and wellness; human development; interpersonal relationships; career, community, and family connections; parenting; and family and community services. …