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Why some school classes should be required and not elective

Order Reprint of this Story February 09, 2016 08: These core subjects have and continue to be the pillars of education. They are mandatory and high stakes tests revolve around most of them. But after fifth grade, there are courses that students are asked to choose.

  1. By supporting the PTSA and local bond initiatives that help raise monies for school district expenditures, parents can become an important part in ensuring their children receive the proper elective education that will help stimulate academic success for a lifetime.
  2. These are known as elective classes — and they are dangling from a thin budgetary-constricted lifeline. More were eliminated after the No Child Left Behind law in 2001, to focus on bringing all students up to minimum federal and state standards.
  3. Restrictions on Elective Classes Your school may restrict the number of elective classes that can be applied to your degree or diploma program. A lot of my peers are frightened by public speaking.

Classes like theater, world language, coding, wood shop, personal finance, creative writing and photography pique interest and stir inner passions. These are known as elective classes — and they are dangling from a thin budgetary-constricted lifeline. What is an elective course? No one covers what is happening in our community better than we do. And with a digital subscription, you'll never miss a local story.

When I was in junior high — now affectionately referred to as middle school — we had two different elective classes each day. I took Home Economics, where I learned to sew dresses from patterns and how to make a wicked French toast. I took typing, which sure did come in handy when personal computers came along.

Elective Vs. Required Classes

The boys learned to use power tools in wood shop and how to change the oil in a car. They were life lessons, and they were given in school. But in reality, elective courses are much more than fun-filled schedule stuffers.

If offered correctly, elective classes can be game changers for many kids. Taking band in middle school could scaffold to being a member of the marching band in high school. As a general rule students should maintain a well-rounded, sustainable, yet challenging schedule. Marybeth Kravets, college consultant and former National Association for College Admission Counseling president, says that colleges look for the core curriculum, but they also like to see breadth and depth in the overall high school experience.

When electives such as art, fine art, music, journalism, computer programming or business can provide an interdisciplinary overlap with more traditional courses, it creates a richer learning experience while helping to break up rigorous schedules. Preparing for college takes hard work and dedication. Electives provide your child a chance to show flair and develop interests and abilities. Impact of the federal initiatives Cuts to the arts and P. Historically, high schools have always offered a rich diversity of electives.

But a change in budgets and academic values turned everything around. More were eliminated after the No Child Left Behind law in 2001, to focus on bringing all students up to minimum federal and state standards. With the rise of the Common Core State Standards, the debate continues as to what courses students should be required to take and when.

Impact of electives In addition to empowering practical skills, electives can help students find hidden talents or passions. In fact, several studies show that students are more likely to get a degree or major in a course they took as an elective. Electives offer options that allow individuals to seek out interests. Being able to choose a class is huge, and this tends to keep kids motivated to learn.

Cutting electives does not motivate the students who are least likely to pass a state test.

  • In fact, several studies show that students are more likely to get a degree or major in a course they took as an elective;
  • She has three children and lives in North Miami;
  • You may think the elective course requirement is simply a way for schools to allow you to take a fun class;
  • I believe that this should also be offered as an elective;
  • The visual arts help strengthen visual learners, music strengthens oral learners, and P.

In fact, the classes like music, shop and art are the academic breaks in an otherwise bleak day — the very extras that keep them showing up.

The visual arts help strengthen visual learners, music strengthens oral learners, and P. Compiled SAT data showed that students with academic experience in music scored higher both in math and verbal. Piano keyboard training boosted math scores. Elective courses have helped students socially and behaviorally as well.

The World Music Central and the Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse shared how secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances. Teachers of electives play an important role in creating cutting-edge course work and objectives.

They are charged with having a unique set of skills and expertise auto mechanics, carpentry, marketing and finance, media production, sewing, architecture, etc. They must be able to effectively parlay these skills to their students — while having eyes in back of their heads — to create an enriched environment where students learn to cultivate skill sets of their own. One of the challenges of offering enriching electives is finding teachers who have the specialized skill sets to teach them.

We need talented teachers to offer great electives. When budgets are cut, electives are the first to go.

Should schools offer more electives?

This not only stimulates a loss in opportunities for students, but it also stimulates a loss in jobs for teachers across the country.

To understand why some schools drop specific programs, it is necessary to understand how schools are funded. Expenditures on schooling are not equal from state to state. The disparity is affected by differing costs of educational input and costs related to real estate and teacher salaries.

However, when the numbers are adjusted to reflect regional wages and prices, there is still a large gap among state spending.

Beyond the Classroom: Electives in school — essential or entertaining? | Miami Herald

This gap results in some schools being provided with higher budgets and thus having more opportunities for elective programs than others. Chen said that after adjusting for cost of living and price differences, New Jersey spent about twice as much as Utah per student. Funding School funding comes from a variety of money pots — federalstate and city.

Since almost half of public spending on elementary and secondary schools comes from local government budgets, the local tax base size is one of the major causes of a large spending disparity. The bottom line is that to provide students with greater elective opportunities, each school community must have local financial support.

Creating foundations is a great way for public school districts to think about long-term funding. Parental involvement is also crucial to supporting electives. By supporting the PTSA and local bond initiatives that help raise monies for school district expenditures, parents can become an important part in ensuring their children receive the proper elective education that will help stimulate academic success for a lifetime.

Testing, return on investment Another cause of the decline in elective courses is the financial demand of high stakes testing. What if every required course at the high school level was made elective? What if we put kids in charge of their own education? But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.

She now chairs the science department and teaches gifted middle school science at David Lawrence Jr. She has three children and lives in North Miami.