English. History. Math. Science. Maybe P.E., maybe Spanish. The budget cuts have not only increased class sizes, but have decreased class choices. Students are forced to enroll in the classes required for graduation and college while being unable to take elective courses that spark their interest; excessive demand for core classes by colleges and even basic graduation requirements limits opportunities students have to take classes of their own choosing.
Regardless of the quality of any class or teacher, students will only learn if they want to. The unfortunate downside of core classes is that, to some students, they are merely chores that must be completed to advance to the next grade. With electives, students want to be in class and, therefore, want to perform well. The difference can be dramatic: people who maintain only an average performance in core classes may excel in electives. By exposing students’ unique talents, electives can build self-confidence with will translate to greater success in all endeavors.
Nevertheless, numerous electives have been eliminated for various reasons, typically related to the steadily decreasing budget, so students cannot enroll in them. Some of the only classes that lead to places other than a traditional college or junior college are auto-tech repair, culinary arts, and art classes.
For students who would prefer to study a field not geared toward college, the options are limited. Seeing the importance of a high school education becomes increasingly difficult when students cannot take classes that will have a direct effect on their future.
Electives offer hands-on experiences that can rarely be found in typical English and math classes. Not everyone in high school plans to enter a profession that requires a university education, and for these students especially, the practical experiences obtained through electives can prove to be invaluable.
Even students who plan to enter a four-year college upon graduation, will receive the benefits of a practical education offered only through electives. The simple truth is that elective classes cannot be sacrificed if we hope to obtain a balanced and effective education in high school.