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Which courses should be mandatory in our schools?

Updated on August 23, 2014

The subject of school curriculum can be a controversial thing especially in some school districts. The curriculum of our schools and the philosophy in place is far more different now than when our country began. The structure we now have in place and the involvement we have as parents is affected by decisions of our government unlike the past. The philosophy and policies of the education department is taking control away from local governments and parents. The population of our country was such from what can be determined involved one teacher teaching several grades rather than a separate teacher for each grade level. There were no issues about what was being taught as best can be determined but it is a different story today.

There are a number of courses which are critical to students in our schools today which are needed to survive and be an active part of society. One course among others that should be mandatory it that of history. History is an important topic not only to grasp the events of our country which has shaped what we have become today but what we may become tomorrow. History is a great teacher not only for our children but for us as adults. It is important to not only understand how our country began and developed but the principles upon which this country is based or at least how it should be today. Understanding the principles embodied in our Constitution is important for the leaders of tomorrow. It should however, not be interpreted but the words presented so each individual can understand their rights as individuals and the role government should play in our lives.

There were many events and situations which shaped our early beginnings and helped to formulate the content of our Constitution. In teaching history the character of our country should be presented in a proper perspective to help understand what it took for our founding fathers to take steps to declare our freedom from England. The difficult times after the declaration must be understood through the proper teaching of history to students including those who attend college.

Another course which should be mandatory is English. English is the basic language of our country though there are many that speak other languages. English is about being able to communicate your ideas and opinions so others can understand your perspective. Having the capability to communicate regardless of the environment in which an individual finds themselves is important to be a viable part of society. Nothing can take place without communicating with another individual or groups of individuals. Having the knowledge to communicate your ideas or suggestions in such places as your job can help lead to advancement in your career. Today it is felt some students have trouble communicating their thoughts or their thoughts are ignored by those who teach based on the curriculum established by the school district. The common core curriculum initiative as it is now taking shape in over 40 of our states may have an impact on letting students freely express their thoughts based on the information they have. If this takes place it may place students in a frame of mind to ignore their thoughts or ideas in the workplace after being rejected or ignored in our education system. This is not what we as a country want to happen.

Communication through the written word can be critical in having ideas accepted. In the past many ideas were looked upon as radical but were later found to have a sound basis. The subject of English is a viable opportunity to clearly project an idea or concept by presenting it in such as a way as to be grammatically correct and placing emphasis on the right points.

Subjects associated with computer technology and/or programs are also critical elements/subjects which should be taught within our educational system. The technology of today is impacting us and the opportunities to communicate not only our ideas and suggestions within our country but around the world. Our schools must provide the mechanisms to understand and use this technology to help prepare individuals to be a viable force in the future of our country. Understanding computer applications are important in the technological world we live in today. Programs such as spreadsheets and word programs is part of being a viable part of society as we know it today. Much is communicated in the business world through spreadsheets or word programs and in some cases individuals who work for a company will often want data to be presented in a spreadsheet format. The world we live in today and the way we communicate is constantly changing. Subjects such as spreadsheets, word programs and computer programs are important today more than ever. Much is communicated through computers and if an individual is not comfortable with using a computer he/she will have a difficult time making a good living. Subjects associated with computer technology such as spreadsheets, word programs will aid the student to develop a framework to be utilized when they enter society.

Last but not least are math and science courses. Mathematics and science are critical to the future of our country. Basic mathematics should be taught to each student while more higher level of mathematics should be at the option of students who have an interest in such levels. Simple mathematics is involved in any business while the higher level is required in specific industries. Students need to have an interest and capability in the higher level of math courses to be offered. In relation to science courses basic level of science courses should also be taught to each student. We learn much from those involved with science activity such as research and being able to analyze information to help identify potential answers to problems facing our health and other elements of society.

While the subjects identified above are meant to be the basis for mandatory curriculum additional subjects could be added to the list as the needs of society changes. It is also understood that some students have interest in such things as the arts and their interest should be addressed in a school curriculum. As individuals we all have talents and capabilities and those need to be enriched and encouraged not discouraged. Having basic curriculum as identified above does not mean that other subjects cannot be a part of the curriculum. Subjects being taught in all our schools need to have a balance between mandatory courses and those which interest students in other subject areas. The methods and needs of business are constantly changing and our educational system needs to provide individuals with the knowledge and capability to provide the resources needed for the businesses of tomorrow.


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