Drivers Ed: online or in class?


Katrina Flores , Staff Writer

As many enthusiastic students at MV prepare to take driver’s ed, which is required before taking the permit test, they must decide whether to take the classes online or in the classroom.

Driver’s ed is one of the first maturing steps for high schoolers as they move into the real world before learning to drive. It is a course study that teaches the techniques of driving a vehicle, along with basic vehicle maintenance, safety precautions, and traffic regulations and laws.

High school driver’s ed was very popular around 30 years ago. It had been offered at various high schools around the nation so that students could get the classes done at school, rather than having to spend extra time out of class to finish the course. But should Monte Vista offer it as well?

Well at one point in time, back in the 90s, MV did offer these classes. There was an elective course which half of the year was driver’s ed while the other half was focused on careers. The program ended in the mid 90s for several reasons.

Over the years, the driver’s ed program at our school found itself to be slowly losing students’ interest since it was discovered that they could be completing their classes in less time than having to sit in a classroom for a whole semester.

Driver’s ed wasn’t the only thing offered at MV twenty years ago. Driving lessons were also taught by the teachers after school for an additional fee to cover the maintenance and car insurance provided by the school. Eventually SRVUSD discontinued the program due to its high costs and lack of interest.

Likewise, over the years, the amount of schools nationwide that have offered it has declined. The CEO of the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, Allen Robinson, thinks that driver’s ed in schools may not be as popular in our generation because of the technology that has developed over time and classes at driving schools.

“About 15% of students take high school driver’s ed compared with 95% in the 1970s,” he said.

Currently there are two ways to take driver’s ed: attending classes at a driving school for seven hours per day for five days or taking an online class which can be done at your convenience.

Some kids prefer a classroom structure since they have a definite start and end time of the driver’s ed program. They can also interact with a teacher where they can ask questions if they have any. In-class programs cost more than an online course since you’re utilizing a personal instructor. Most kids try to get in a class with their friends who can be an easy distraction when you are trying to focus on essential material needed to pass the test.

Taking online courses is a more suitable solution for some students because it gives them the flexibility and the choice to take your time to get through all the lessons. Online courses also cost a fraction of the in-class programs.

With many students having extracurricular activities after school, it is challenging to find time to schedule a driver’s ed class, but if you sign up for an online class, you can do it whenever and wherever works best for you. If you’re the kind of kid that can still focus online without any distractions, this option is ideal for you. Online courses also allow you to choose whenever you can take the class since no one wants to stay in a classroom more than they have to.

After a recent poll, students at Monte Vista seem to prefer attending classes at a driving school rather than taking them online, but the difference in people wasn’t by that much.

All students really care about is that they pass the test, which most say isn’t that hard to do. But when some don’t pass it, they question whether it had something to do with the way they were taught the material.

Personally, I have found it to be more efficient taking driver’s ed online since I have lots of extracurricular activities after school, but in order to find the right choice that best suits you, you must look at how you learn best, whether that be online or in a classroom.