Consumer Education should be two-semester course

Students in Consumer Ed learn more about the financial system, including income taxes. (Royalty-free photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich via

By Ryan Pencek, Reporter

The Consumer Education class at West Chicago Community High School is too short, and needs to be extended from one one to two semesters. 

Consumer Education is designed to help students to become economically independent and responsible consumers. Topics include budgeting, transportation, comparative pricing, general principles of consumer purchasing, consumer credit, savings and investments, insurance, taxes, and the operation of the economy and how it affects the consumer. 

On the West Chicago Community High School district website, they go into more depth on all the business classes that students can take at the school, and whom to contact for more information about the classes. However, I have firsthand knowledge of the subject, as I am currently enrolled in Consumer Education and find the class can barely cover all the important content students need before graduating high school.

Consumer debt, meaning personal debts that are owed as a result of purchasing goods, is on the rise in the United States. This debt consists of credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, mortgages and many others. In Consumer Education, students learn the importance of budgeting their money so they are able to better prepare themselves for those unexpected purchases. As mentioned, budgeting is just one of many major topics students learn about in consumer education. 

Nancy Blume a business education teacher who that has taught Consumer Education at West Chicago Community High School for 11 years, stated, “With consumer debt on the rise in the United States, I do think Consumer Education is important because we need to know how to manage our finances – budgeting, credit, loans/credit cards, saving and investing are topics that accomplish that goal.  The number of consumer scams are also on the rise so our discussion of consumer protection agencies, identity theft protection, advertising and warranties all help protect students now and in the future.”

Consumer Education is an important class for high school students to take; this class teaches students to become economically educated and a reliable consumer. These skills are a necessity to going into the real world. It would be foolish for high schools to only offer a short semester of Consumer Education. 

Blume elaborated, “We could always teach more depth on the topics we teach, but there isn’t time to go into depth on everything that we could teach in Consumer Ed.  We do move quickly through the topics, and some students may appreciate going more slowly.”

Emily Nosky, a junior who is currently taking Consumer Education at WEGO, said, “I think [adding a semester to the class] can be beneficial due to Consumer Education being such a rush. I’m just trying to learn all the information as quickly as possible instead of retaining it. Also, I want to spend more time with my ninth hour class. Just kidding.”

High Schools should institute require 2 semesters of Consumer Education as a graduation requirement. Doing so will prepare and excite students for the future, knowing that they can be a reliable consumer.