Required classes stifle educational pursuits

Four years of English, three years of math, two years of PE and one year of a language are required for every student at NP. Although these requirements are supposed to ensure that we become well-rounded students, they have led to counterproductive results instead.

Students do not have the liberty to decide what our educational paths will be because we get strapped down trying to meet what is required of us.

Since there is a one year language requirement to graduate and a three year requirement for UC schools, many students take two years of Spanish, then take a year of ASL. Although this requirement was meant to broaden students’ linguistic abilities beyond just one language, it has just made early-level language classes a joke. A large population of students in these classes do not take them seriously and are only looking to pass the class. In my Spanish 2 class, our teacher clearly understood this, and even told us not to bother learning some grammatical rules because the correct answer would be obvious on the test. Forcing students into classes they do not care about only hurts the students that actually do care about the subject.

The PE requirement– for reasons other than just being institutionalized public humiliation– is an unnecessary waste of time. In my freshman year, I wanted to double up in two subjects, but since I had to do in-class PE, I was only able to double up in one. In order to double up in the other subject, I had to take the course over summer. Along with other students in the same predicament, I was obligated to give up my break from school for an expensive and time-consuming course. Instead of forcing students to do PE– even though many of us play sports and exercise outside of school– we should be allowed to have some measure of freedom in the classes we choose.

Four years of English, however, is the most excessive. Though I do believe that understanding language and being able to write are important skills, taking English year after year is unnecessary. Within the first few years of the course, we learn how to analyze writing and create cohesive essays. Unfortunately, English classes start to stifle creativity as we become more dead-set on particular ways of writing and using devices, rather than exploring how we want to write. There should be more types of English classes where students can choose which to take after their sophomore year. As of now, students are all centered around a convergent goal rather than using creative liberty. English should be a divergent class where students feel free to find their style.

Required classes make sure that every student completes the bare minimum amount of the educational process, but there should be leniency with them. Instead of putting students in classes they do not want to deal with every single year of high school, students should be given the choice to forge their own educational path.

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