Students need more freedom to specialize in schedules

Mary Petersen, In-Depth Editor

To graduate from DGN, every student is required to collect a minimum of three math credits, four english, two science (recommended three), three social studies, four physical education, half each of consumer education, applied arts and fine arts, and is highly advised to seek two or more foreign language credits. 

The countless hours we’re forced to spend toiling over work in order to gain knowledge we’ll never use would be better spent specializing and gaining mastery in one area we care about and wish to pursue. 

In many areas of the world, particularly in European countries, middle or high school students are expected to choose a path or “track” to pursue in their pre-collegiate education to better prepare them for a future career that interests them. This smart method of specializing students’ education is not something that many schools in the US have adopted, to the detriment of American students. 

If I had been allowed to choose a track from late in middle school or the start of high school, I would have had room for more English-centered electives, which I have sadly missed out on almost completely even as a sSenior, like Literary Expressions or another year of Journalism. I could have started Spanish sooner, instead of only being in Spanish 1 this year. Instead, I took Chemistry, Pre-Calculus, and Fitness 1.

It isn’t that those classes are useless or unappealing. Rather, different classes have differing amounts of value and importance to each individual student. There are hundreds of students in this building who wish they could have taken AP Stats or Calc AB, but were stuck in English 3 or Drawing and Painting 1.

While taking some classes that we aren’t interested in is inevitable, the “well rounded” style of education like the one DGN uses takes this to a new level. Our schedules are packed with class after class we only take in order to graduate. We stuff our heads with useless information we forget the moment we finish our final exam. 

This is sadly what our American education has become: less of a privilege we take to learn more about the world and increase our probability of future success, and more of a test to see how much we can cram and memorize to pass each test. Being shoehorned into subjects and classes we don’t belong in is inefficient use of our time at DGN and makes school a chore.

If students were allowed to choose a track that fits their interests, education would become not only more fruitful, in that we could gain more knowledge that we would actually find ourselves using (and less that we wouldn’t), but also in that we could enjoy our school experience more after eliminating classes we don’t enjoy and will never use.