Unreasonable requirements

Guy Burstein

( May 25, 2012 ) — The school system in the United States revolves around the fulfillment of a list of requirements. Every student who goes to college in California is sure to have taken everything from English to science. When students want to personalize their class choice their only opportunity to do so is in a couple of elective classes each year. Unfortunately, this trend of forcing every student to learn everything is a harmful and misguided approach to education. Getting accepted into a good school should not rely on making students take many high school classes that they will not value. You shouldn’t have prospective engineers learning about aesthetic values and those who want to learn history doing derivatives. The point of high school should be to take the classes that you need to be successful, not those someone else decides are important. Currently, it takes 14 classes to fulfill California’s A-G class requirements, including everything from art to science. Getting accepted into a UC requires high school students to take 4 more. That’s well over two school-years worth of classes that may not be useful to a student at all. What high school should be about instead is taking those classes which students would find valuable. Furthermore, by allowing students to take full control of their schedules, schools would be able to teach them better as well. It is much easier to explain 19th-century American politics to a group of students who want to be there than to those who are there to fulfill some alphabetized requirement. It’s a waste of time for students to spend time in a class which will not engage them in the fields they wish to be engaged. Students do require a general education in order to succeed in life, but by the time they reach high school, they usually have a vague idea of what major they wish to pursue. When this happens, the school system should do a better job of encouraging them instead of forcing them to worry about an arbitrary list of educational requirements. If students had more control over their schedules they would be able to take full advantage over the classes schools offer. You should allow students to explore every field in high school. You shouldn’t force them to.