Societal rules, basic etiquette, and the definition of respect should be a mandatory workshop at the high school freshman level (or earlier). It is the moral choices, a family support system, and knowledge of different cultures that divide our society. As we see less familial guidance, it is the responsibility of the village to teach our new generations. As educators we strive for all of our students to succeed, but knowledge alone cannot help propel someone into a different social class unless they are prepared socially. I work at a Title I high school in Dallas and have witnessed firsthand the lack of social skills introduced to these kids. Except for a very small handful of students over the past 5 years, I have had to teach every student the correct way to shake someone's hand, make polite conversation, and what most of the world considers the definition of respect and what that looks like in real life. My students have asked, and I have complied, to teach them more - job interviews, earbud etiquette, swagger, and the fact that what is cool on the street will not get you into a high paying job. I've had students I've never met come to my classroom and ask me to teach them my Real Life Rules, like I did for their friends. Our kids are so thirsty for adult guidance; we should take the opportunity to raise up a new generation of respectful young people who can drive our country forward as we step aside.
Idea No. 409