The Importance of Family and Consumer Sciences Education
Public Testimony/New Jersey State Board of Education September 16,
2009 Presenter: Carolyn S. Reynolds, CFCS
Good afternoon! My name is Carolyn Reynolds. I am the Executive Director of the New Jersey
Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, former Family and Consumer Sciences (formerly
Home Economics and Consumer Education) State Supervisor/Education Program Specialist with
the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Career and Technical Education (formerly
Division of Vocational Education) and former State Adviser of Family, Career and Community
Leaders of America (formerly Future Homemakers of America/Home Economics Related
Occupations), the career and technical student organization related to family and consumer
sciences. In addition, I serve as the coordinator of Curriculum Connections, the professional
development program for family and consumer sciences educators, and a consultant to the
Educators of Family and Consulter Sciences-New Jersey.
Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) is an interdisciplinary program which has undergone many
changes over the past 100 plus years since it became a recognized profession and program in our
public schools serving middle and high school students as well as the training that occurred in
colleges and universities across the United States. Nationally, the name changed from domestic
science to home economics to family and consumer sciences. In some colleges and universities,
there were many other titles. That’s titles included human ecology, consumer and family studies,
human sciences, family and consumer studies and social sciences.
When I was in high school, the program emphasized homemaking@: skills for individuals and
families. The content areas included: foods and nutrition, clothing and textiles, housing/home
furnishings and interior design, child development, parenting, interpersonal relationships, and
resource management/family economics. The program content was later expanded to include
related occupations utilizing the transferability of the homemaking skills to the workplace.
Today's National Standards of Family and Consumer Sciences developed and validated by the
National Association of State Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences include 16 areas
of study. With these 16 areas of studies, our students have opportunities to analyze strategies to
manage multiple roles and responsibilities (individual, family, career, community and global) and
demonstrate transferable and employability skills in school, community and workplace settings.
Our society has many issues facing individuals and families today. These issues include but are
not limited to: low self- esteem; eating disorders; child and elder abuse; drug and alcohol abuse;
domestic violence; bankruptcy; teen pregnancy; homelessness; unemployment; and multi-
You will note that many issues are interrelated. Unemployment is a good example. If we become
unemployed, does our self-esteem suffer? Will we need to file for bankruptcy? Do we become
homeless? Do we become abusers: child and/or elder; drug and/or alcohol; or domestic violence?
Training in family and consumer sciences helps individuals and their families address such
societal issues that I have listed. Family and consumer sciences programs also address how to:
1) Integrate multiple life roles and responsibilities in family, work and community
- 2) Evaluate management practices related to human, economic and environmental
3) Integrate knowledge, skills and practices required for careers in: consumer services; early
childhood, education and services; facilities management and maintenance; family and
community services; food production and services; food science, food technology,
dietetics and nutrition; hospitality, tourism and recreation; housing, interiors and
furnishings; and textiles and apparel;
4) Evaluate the significance of family and its effects on the well being of individuals and
society; 5) Analyze factors that influence human growth and development; 6) Demonstrate
respectful and caring relationships in the family, workplace and
7) Demonstrate nutrition and wellness practices that enhance individual and family well
8) Evaluate the impact of parenting roles and responsibilities Ion strengthening the well
being of individuals and families.
Family and consumer sciences programs also include the integration of the "21st Century
Knowledge and Skills: technology integration; interdisciplinary corrections; and infusion of
global perspectives". Today's FCS programs are not the "stitch in' and stirrin'" of the past.
Thank you for your past support for our discipline. We look forward to your continuing and
important support of family and consumer sciences for the students of New Jersey.