Class requirements are restricting

Credits create limitations to a student’s future


Photo by Kaden Roth

While students take required classes to fulfill graduation requirements they miss out on the opportunity to discover and explore subjects they have interest in. By not being able to take classes that pertain more to a student’s interests, their futures are being negatively affected.

Kaden Roth, Staff Reporter

A major aspect of attending school is becoming intellectually curious about the surrounding world and learning how to become productive citizens in society. Classes are made mandatory from a very young grade to teach students skills that can be used when they leave the classroom.

However, mandatory classes and credits become unnecessary in the later years of high school. It could be more beneficial to allow students to take the classes they enjoy that will help students discover how they can transition the skills they gain from school into the real world.

The underlying skills taught in required classes include teaching students how to work with others, how to treat everyone with respect and kindness, how to problem solve, etc., and are necessary for students to learn in order to become proactive members of a workplace or educational institution. 

Of course it then begs the question, for how long are students going to be demanded to fulfill these requirements? Due to students being exposed to these underlying skills they pick up from different classes, doesn’t it make sense that they can learn and master these skills at a very early grade level? This leaves them plenty of time in the future to focus on taking classes that interest them and that will better prepare them for their future in a certain career field or subject.

Requiring students to take classes the district deems beneficial for their future doesn’t always mean they will obtain any of the information from the course. To students it can be seen as only a task on a list needing to be checked off. For example, Personal Finance is a great class that offers a lot of valuable information that can be incredibly useful for young adults. However, students may prefer to take the class as soon as possible to allow for more open blocks that can be filled with classes that pertain to their interest.

 I took the class my freshman year hoping to get it completed and out of the way so that I would be able to take other classes during the rest of my academic career. By taking the course my freshman year, I had successfully completed the graduation requirement. But I had failed to grasp any of the information that would assist me in making financial decisions in the future. The reason was that I had no interest in the class at the time and was only really present enough to pass the course and complete the requirement.

According to a study done by psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 1880s “without any reinforcement or connections to prior knowledge, information is quickly forgotten—roughly 56 percent in one hour, 66 percent after a day, and 75 percent after six days”.

From personal experience, I can say that it is incredibly overwhelming starting at high school when there are so many new and interesting courses. I think that one of the most beneficial parts of high school is that students are encouraged to explore our interests and new things. This opens our minds to all the possibilities of how we can continue growing and expanding on the subjects and classes we find fulfillment in. 

It’s important to acknowledge that required classes do expose students to subjects they may not have considered to be of interest to them. They also allow students to better understand where their strengths lie and where they may not be as strong. However, if a student really isn’t enjoying a class or learning anything they believe to be useful to them they should be able to drop the class. This currently isn’t the case because students are having to worry about an unfulfilled graduation requirement that will negatively impact them come their senior year.

Of course classes like math and English should still be required because it’s important that students are becoming educated in these areas. But these classes should only be required to an extent because  to many required courses can be very limiting. I think that when it comes to a student’s junior year of high school they shouldn’t be required to take classes for the purpose of completing a requirement but to start to focus on what subjects and courses they enjoy and hope to pursue after graduation. 

It is also argued that certain required classes like math help prepare students for standardized school tests like the ACT and SAT, but with colleges moving away from looking at such scores so closely does that argument really hold any validity?

Elissa Nadworny, a reporter for NPR, wrote “Colleges Are Backing Off SAT, ACT Scores — But The Exams Will Be Hard To Shake” talking about COVID-19s affect on colleges’ decisions to use standardized test scores. “More than half of U.S. colleges admit two-thirds or more of students who apply,” Nadworny wrote. “Many public four-year and community colleges are open access, meaning they don’t have competitive admissions. No exams required”.

There is something to say about the value in experiencing how to learn in a class that students may prefer to not be in. Even so, is that really more beneficial than being able to take a class that could broaden the understanding a student has on their future in regards to what they’d want to do?

Classes and credits that are mandatory in high school hold very little importance to the growth of students because they aren’t truly gaining the information. If these classes are only being pushed on students based on the belief that it could potentially help them in the future then there is going to need to be changes made. Coming from a student, I don’t believe these classes to be as beneficial as they could be.