Life is filled with mandatory rules that we must follow in order to make our way into the world. In order to attend any college in the world, we have to get either a high school diploma or GED, proving that we have received a basic education. In order to legally drive, a driver’s license is a mandatory state law and some states require driver’s education as well. In all areas of life, there are guidelines we have to follow in order to take the next step. Primary and secondary education is no different.
Education has become a battleground between parents, educators, and administration. Many times they can’t agree on what should be done within the school system. All of these groups, though, want to do what’s best for the children, who usually end up suffering in the end if a bad decision is made. One of the many issues facing education is whether or not there should be mandatory classes in schools. Like life itself, there has to be specific standards in school, including mandatory classes.
In elementary school, there are mandatory classes, like reading, that students take. It’s important to have this class because good reading skills determine a child’s success as they advance in education and life. Mandatory classes are the only way to monitor a student’s progress, especially in the early stage of a child’s education. These classes could also be used as a way to find out if a child has some sort of learning disability. In my experience as a tutor, the earlier children are diagnosed, the better the chance that they will succeed in the future.
When I was in high school, we had to take mandatory courses in order to graduate. In my small-town school, we had to take three each of math and science classes, four English classes, business courses, art or music courses, later a foreign language, and a specific number of electives in order to graduate. Because we were a rural area, the school board wanted the classes to be in accord with the requirements necessary to enter most of the major universities in the state.
In addition to the mandatory courses needed to graduate from high school, depending on the university you wanted to attend, each had specific requirement for incoming students. For example, Louisiana State University required Chemistry, Physics and Calculus and Trigonometry whereas another state university required Chemistry or Physics and Calculus or Trigonometry. In addition to competing with fellow classmates, we had to compete with larger, better funded high schools for spaces in universities. So, it was important for the school to provide mandatory classes if students were to be competitive with bigger school systems.
Overall, there has to be some sort of standard. Education cannot be some willy-nilly experiment; therefore, mandatory classes, though not flawless, helps schools stay in sync.