Opinion: What Electives?

by Shannon Sullivan
BHS News

As students, the schedules we make each semester dictate our lives for the next couple of months. Each class comes with its own benefits and burdens, but how much say do we get in which classes we take? There are the mandatory classes during all four years, like Math and English, but what about electives like business or art? Unfortunately, we are not the ones physically making our schedules; guidance counselors have the final say. We may not be adults yet, but students should choose what classes they take during the school year that are not mandatory.

In many elective classes, students are commonly found with heads dwindling on the desk, half asleep, and doing nothing. Most electives, like art, are easy and fun if you have an interest in them. However, if the class sparks no interest in you then it can be a long forty nine minutes.

During first and second semester, students all over the school can be heard talking about being forced to take a class they did not need to, even though they have a sufficient amount credits. One student says, “Guidance counselors tell students their options and then tell them what class they are going to take anyways.” It is discouraging to sit with no power and listen to someone saying, “You will take this class, it is not an option.” Of course they do not want us to have three studies every day each cycle, but is that any better than a student sitting in a class they will sleep through? Especially as a senior, semester two, the year is getting closer to an end, there are enough credits to graduate, and yet every day is a hustle to rush to 3D-design so another clay pot can be made.

Although foreign language class is not an elective, it is a controversial choice after sophomore year. It is BHS policy to take a language for at least two years, and after that it is optional, but it must be replaced with another class worth a high number of credits, like Preschool Lab. Unfortunately, many students are heavily pressured to take Spanish or French for at least three, if not four, years. Another student says, “I think the guidance counselors force foreign language too much on juniors, eliminating the other classes they actually want to take. I was basically told I had to take [a language] for at least three years if I wanted to get into a quality college.” If a language course in high school is something students will forget the moment they head off to college then there is no point in pushing it, unless they intend to pursue it as a major. If colleges are on the brink of accepting a student, the final decision will not be made based on whether a student can barely ask “How are you?” in another language.

Students should be able to dictate their schedules. Parents should not have to call to get their son or daughter out of a class he/she is forced to take and will not help them in the future. No means no, and being high school students as old as eighteen, we know enough to be involved in making classroom decisions.