Looking back at my senior year of high school, I remember being frustrated because I had to continue to complete tedious and impractical tasks for my non-AP classes, even after I was accepted into college. While I understand the principle of maintaining a strong work ethic throughout my entire high school experience, I felt that many of the classes in my schedule were preparing me for a test instead of college or a post-educational life. As opposed to only the traditional math, language, history, science and elective combination, high school seniors should be offered more practical classes.
1. Free Period
By far the most useful and practical class during my senior year was my free period. While many high schools give seniors a free period in their schedule, it is oftentimes an hour of unproctored time for the student away from the classroom. Instead, the time could be used for time to work on homework, college applications, apply for scholarships and speak with counselors. With my free period, my school found the ability to bring guest speakers to speak on topics such as sexual assault on college campuses, preparing for job interviews and traveling on a budget. While not all schools have the resources to bring guest speakers, campuses must give students the opportunity to study independently and the exposure to real-life issues.
With the high and constantly rising cost of universities, finance classes would give students the ability to handle situations regarding student loans and living on a budget at college. The fact that a study from Ohio State University said that 70% of college students stressed about their finances not only shows the unaffordability of school, but also the lack of resources students are given to allocate funds. Along with focusing on money with college, finance classes should also provide students with knowledge on establishing bank accounts, investments, mortgages and taxes.
With the stress that students often deal with regarding their academics, extracurricular activities and social lives, they need more outlets to relieve this tension. Along with relieving stress, meditating has proven to have physiological benefits such as, lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and increased memory. Mindful awareness classes can make students more productive in other classes while allowing them to relax and spend time in a stress free environment at school.
4.Coding/ Computer Programming
With the increased digitization throughout the world, schools need to update their classes to the workplace setting. The way that many schools offered typing classes with the mass public distribution of the personal computer, schools today must transition towards more computer programming classes. Nearly every business depends primarily on the use of technology, and possessing the ability to code and program provides students with more opportunities. In fact a Burning Glass Technologies study showed that there were 7 million job openings in 2015 that required coding skills.
5. Current Events/ Politics
While students have an unlimited amount of access to information with their devices, a current events class gives pupils outlets to receive accurate information and share their opinions on global topics. This class would provide students with debating experience in addition to keeping them aware of issues in their community. According to a CNN article, the turnout among eligible voters for the 2016 presidential election was the lowest in two decades. Also, the voter turnout is significantly lower in local elections. For example, in Los Angeles’ May election, the voter turnout was only about 8% according to a Daily News article. If we want this trend of a lack of participation in a democracy to end, students must be encouraged to stay in tuned with local and global issues.
While the primary and secondary school systems in the United States have gone several decades educating students through its conventional practice of the major classroom subjects, it is time for them to modernize their curriculum to fit today's world. Instead of solely preparing students to perform for a test, schools need to provide children and adolescents with practical classes. Schools need to accommodate for students' busy schedules and accelerated stress by providing useful free periods and meditation classes. In addition, curriculums must be adjusted to the needs of the current environment. With the common financial burdens among college students, the increased necessity of computer programming skills and low voter turnouts in local and national elections, educational institutions must provide finance, coding and current events classes to students. The time is now for schools to alter their class options and give scholars tools to enter the real world as prepared individuals.
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