Why don’t we have driver’s ed or auto shop classes?




Although driver’s ed and auto classes are a common high school course, DPHS does not offer either. What happened to these classes and will they ever come back?

Many schools across California dropped their driver’s ed and auto shop classes in the early 2000s. DP and other high schools in Santa Barbara county were among these schools.

DP previously offered these classes, but dropped driver’s ed in 2013 and ended the auto shop program in 2005.

Driver’s ed was a 10 week course taught by Todd Garrett. It wasn’t much different from the online courses you can take outside of school. There was no actual driving and the course focused only on the booklet, teaching students about road laws, signs, and what to do in emergency situations.

“The curriculum is the same as students take online now. I think the class was good to have on campus as a free alternative for students,” Garrett said.

Auto shop class was a year long program taught by Tony Casillas in T-6, offered for students over the age of 16. The class was more hands-on, learning and working on actual cars that were donated or brought in by students and teachers that wanted their car’s fixed.

In 2005, the auto shop program was announced to be leaving DP due to budget issues.

“It was basically due to the money, the cost of running an auto shop was not bringing in money,” Scott Guttentag, DP Activities Director and counselor, said.

Driver’s ed would have the same fate, leaving DP in 2013. Not due to budget issues, but the thought that teaching the class was pointless.

“We were the last school to still offer the class and we thought that it had no value in it,” Scott said.

The likelihood of an auto shop class returning are little to none.

“The way the program can come back is if a teacher really wants to teach it and writes grants for money,” Scott said.

However, there is a slight chance that driver’s ed could return in the future. Garrett mentioned how the course fits better in a term on the block schedule than it did in a semester during the six period day.

“I think it would be beneficial to students if it returned. It is a convenient and free option for students…I would consider teaching it again,” Garrett said.

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