Stricter requirements hold high schoolers back in life
February 22, 2010 —
Why would a welder need to take calculus? As my classmates and I were about to graduate in 2008, we were wondering questions like these as we awed at the freshmen’s graduation requirements.
Starting with the class of 2011, high schoolers are required to take four years of math and English and three years of science and social science classes to graduate. On top of that, they are expected to complete all other elective requirements, such as phys. ed., health, fine arts, foreign language and computers.
I can see that officials thought this would give students a stronger core academic background as they enter college, but where is there room for students to figure out what they enjoy?
How will students to discover what their general academic interests are so that they don’t have to pay thousands of dollars a year to figure it out in college?
For example, one of my friends took a welding class in high school and decided he didn’t want to go to college. He wanted to go to apprenticeship school for welding. And he did.
The new-and-improved requirements do not allow much room for that kind of experimentation.
It’s important to learn the basics, but how far should these requirements go? And what happens to a student who is not a strong math or science person but is interested in art? Should they be denied a high school diploma because they can’t complete high-level science courses?
School officials are beginning to see the flaws of the stricter requirements and are mulling over a solution. On March 8, they will vote on whether to put a new graduation “certificate” into effect. This would give some notice of achievement to those who could not complete all of the requirements to earn a diploma.
Ben Gibson, a trustee on Bay City Public School’s board of education, was quoted in an article in The Bay City Times on Feb. 11.
“I would have never dreamed of the day when we put two different stamps on our kids,” he said. “It fills me with a bad feeling. We’re graduating youngsters with a second-class diploma.”
The article provides another good point. Many basic local jobs require at least a high school diploma. This includes the military.
What will these stricter requirements do to students who graduated prior to 2011? Will their diplomas mean anything to employers in a few years when there are graduates who worked harder for the same piece of paper?
It seems as though these requirements were a bad idea. While it is good to be a well-rounded and informed person, these harsh requirements don’t seem to further anyone in life and need to be re-considered.