proudmom -- Interesting post. No, there is no such thing as a course on how to prepare for one's future. I think it would be impossible to set one up: techonology is rocketing along and technology drives both the economy and social mores.
When I was in high school (class of '65), our school required a semester of government and a semester of economics and it was way ahead of other schools, even when the state as a whole was taken into consideration. The school where I teach does not offer economics.
My own kids took government in middle school. I would like to see accounting brought into the high school curriculum as a requirement. I think a basic knowledge of accounting would help many students understand how to use money.
For the first time last year, the use of debit cards outstripped the use of credit cards. A merchant told me that she preferred that customers use debit cards over credit cards, as debit cards do not create the same level of expense for her. I've asked several other small business people about this and they all agree that debits are less expensive to process. The use of debit cards could contribute to a lower cost for merchants and lower prices.
However, as energy becomes more expensive, the cost of doing business will rise.