Driver’s Ed cancelled for second year

Mateya McCord, Reporter

On Mar. 3, Newton High School administration announced that for the second year in a row, summer driver’s education has been canceled. This cancelation is a direct result of the nationwide teacher shortage and USD 373 not having enough driving instructors to successfully teach the class. Therefore, the only way to get your license in Newton is through Premier Driving School. 

According to a school-wide survey, 54% of NHS students enrolled in Premier Driver School after the cancelation of the NHS course. Only 45% of current NHS students have taken summer driver’s education through the high school since it was canceled the previous two years. Teacher Lisa Antonowich says Premier Driving School is a perfect alternative for summer driver’s education.

“I do not think driver education should be canceled due to the pandemic,” Antonowich said. “We canceled at NHS because we did not have enough licensed instructors to teach for the summer. Last summer I worked for Premier Driving School and I enjoyed the experience. I am not working any driver’s education this summer. I do think Premier is a great substitute for driver education offered through the district until we can offer the program again.” 

According to Alignable, drivers education through Premier Driving School is a one day instructional class and one on one driving lessons. Sophomore Destinee Ramsey says she had a positive and educational experience attending the course through Premier Driving School.

“I recall going to Premier Driving School at 8 a.m. to learn the rules to drive, take a lunch break, learn more, and then take a test. Then you go to the DMV and give them the slip after you’ve gone driving with a driving coach, and you’ll get your actual license after driving 50 day hours and 10 night hours,” Ramsey said. “Overall I really liked the Premier Driving School and definitely would recommend it to other students.”

Junior Dulce Romero-Ortiz says she remembers going to summer driver’s education through the high school for a short lesson, test and to drive with an instructor.

“At NHS for summer driver’s education you would go into a room and they would give a short lesson. Then you would take the tests after that week or two and get put in a group of three. I remember having an instructor and driving around town or to Wichita,” Romero-Ortiz said. “I feel like they should try really hard to bring back summer driver’s education because some people need affordable choices or something to do during the summer.”

Antonowich says that the district is hoping that more licensed teachers will be hired for summer drivers education in years to come so that the program can continue.

“Next year we are hoping more teachers will get certified to teach driver’s education so the program can continue,” Antonowich said.