Should certain classes become electives or remain requirements?


You sit in the counselor’s office, dreading their impending words after you ask them about your schedule next year. They inform you that you have yet to take important classes including technology and art; these courses, the counselor says, are absolutely necessary for MCPS students to graduate from high school.

You sigh, dip your head and question your existence. After a few seconds, you reluctantly reply with a yes and officially sign up for one of this school’s obscure required courses. The classes of tech, art, health and PE, while providing valuable information for students, should not be obligatory but instead included in the expansive roster of offered electives.

One argument for the change is that students can find these courses irrelevant in regards to their academic interests. For instance, one student who plans on pursuing a career in computer engineering would likely find classes like Foundations in Computer Science more enticing than Digital Photography or Ceramics, two courses that do not directly relate to their particular interests.

Students also cite the repetitiveness of the curriculum as another reason for why classes like health and PE should be classified as electives. Both classes are required courses in middle school, with the content being suspiciously similar to the high school versions. In PE, students participate in sports such as badminton, volleyball and soccer, all three of which are parts of the middle school gym curriculum.

This trend carries over to health as well. In both the middle school and high school variations, health students are taught topics such as drug awareness, sexuality and nutrition. While defenders claim students would not research on their own, all the same information is easily available with a few clicks online. “I feel like I know most of the information being taught [in health],” junior Julia Goetz said.

Ultimately, the selection of courses is a matter of student interest. It is evident that high-schoolers will often block information they deem unnecessary to their comprehension of the world. For those who are infatuated with the arts, they will be inclined to participate more heavily in classes of their liking. With student interaction being a major priority for teachers, the presence of dispassionate class members could diminish the atmosphere of the classroom. If made electives, art, tech, gym and health classes would experience a surge in enthusiasm and the overall betterment of the student body’s intelligence in their particular realms of interest.

-James Barberis
managing editor


Some students and parents believe that technology, gym, art, and health classes are a waste of time, and are just a fill in their schedule. However, each of these topics helps a high schooler’s overall growth and knowledge.

Learning about health can help a student learn skills to remain healthy and understand good versus bad choices. The topics that health go over include how to deal with emotional, mental, and physical health, and how to stay away from dangerous drugs and alcohol. Health can also help teenagers feel comfortable talking about problems they have and that they deal with. “It gave me vital knowledge about mental health and physical health,” sophomore Tamara Heller said.

Art is also important because it helps students to have better memory and increases concentration skills. Art requires a lot of work so the students have to remain patient and not get frustrated. There are many different art classes that can challenge a student in a different way. This is helpful because students who are into art can move from ceramics to studio art to photography. The subjects are unique and cover every discipline an art student might want to take. “Art has helped me grow, because it gives me a different viewpoint, and gives me a creative break,” sophomore Thomas Jezek said.

Another subject that can help overall growth for a student is gym. It can give a person a much needed break to get some exercise and enjoy nice weather. Gym also has a lot of different classes that a student could sign up for. They go from weight training to basketball. Gym has positive health effects, but most importantly those who are not involved in activities or exercises outside of school get to go outside and get exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, each person should “get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.” Gym class is 40-45 minutes and the students would take it every day. That is equal to 200 minutes a week, which is beyond what is the healthy number of minutes a week. Gym can also help with social and teamwork skills. Teachers make you work with someone or a team to learn how to play sports with people. “Throughout my school career I have learned how to communicate and how to accept loss without blaming my teammates,” freshman James Walsh said.

The last elective that is important is technology, which helps students understand how to use computers and code. Tech is important because it can give people a pathway towards getting a job in this field. “Tech has given me something that is interesting and helps me think in different ways,” junior Darren Chang said.

These four classes are important in multiple ways, and need to continue as requirements at schools in MCPS.

-Miller Romm
opinion editor