Should certification in basic first aid be required of all high school graduates? State Senator Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) thinks so, and under her SB 298 pre-file, it would happen as soon as 2014.
Along with making it a graduation requirement in 2014, SB 298 would require all health classes in eighth grade and above to begin teaching basic first aid in the 2010-2011 school year and allow volunteers approved by the State Board of Education to teach these classes.
The concept of learning basic first aid is truly a noble one, and I completely agree that it should be learned at an early age. Actually, it already is in the current health curriculum, as one of 45 standards. However, it is not in the proposed new health curriculum that the State Department of Education is set to adopt early next year.
Basic first aid truly is a life-saving skill, and can even help in non-life-threatening situations. It really is a great thing to know.
Like any other subject, unless the student really wants to learn it, it will go in one ear and out the other – but that isn’t my primary objection, just pointing out a tangential fact. No, my objection here really comes down to the fact that even assuming public schools should exist – and I am an active proponent of the separation of school and state – I believe this issue is best left to be taught privately when a student shows an interest, rather than as yet another state-mandated graduation requirement.
Seriously, I would much rather state mandates to the schools – assuming they should exist in the first place – stick to the classic “reading, writing and arithmetic” and let parents and the local community work to teach anything else they deem appropriate, including basic first aid.
I left teaching nearly three years ago – I’m technically certified as a secondary math teacher through the 2010-2011 school year – and even then, we already had more than enough state-mandated graduation requirements.
No, I say back off on the state mandates to local schools, and particularly on these types of classes, let the locals decide. If the locals want the schools to handle this, so be it. If they would rather students pursue it on their own time, that’s cool with me, too.