Graduation Requirements: Learning from the Past
Over the past few decades, the way students learn has taken a drastic turn for the worse. Students memorize what they need to know, take the test, and then forget. Is this really going to help them in the long run? Students should be learning the material so that they can use it in the future. Back in Pythagoras’ time, there were no graduation requirements. Pythagoreans learned on their own time. They wanted to learn and apply as much as they could. Pythagoreans searched for knowledge and understanding. Our education systems should focus on what will be best for each student. That is why President Obama is trying to make education reforms. The government wants students to learn more effectively and efficiently. As of right now, high schools require students to gain a certain amount of credits to graduate. This requires students to take classes that are not as academic so that they can gain enough credits to graduate. Students waste time taking classes like teacher aide and math lab. This wastes valuable time that students could use to continue their education. The University of Michigan explains that slowly losing memory and the ability to learn is not really noticeable until the loss is substantial enough to affect everyday activities. This is why younger adults in their 20s and 30s notice no losses at all, even though they are declining at the same rate as people in their 60s and 70s (University). The younger the student is, the better their memory and learning ability is. Students are forced to waste these valuable learning years taking classes that are not as important, when they could be learning more and implementing what they have learned. In the past, schools have tried implementing high school exit exams. The students were required to pass a test in order to graduate. In 1978, one school in Florida implemented a competency exam that students had to pass to receive their diploma. During that time period, the United States was still going through many racial issues in the South. Many people and students thought that the exit exam was another way to segregate the students. African-American students united and challenged the statewide test as racially based. In this case, the United States District Court held that the state could not deprive students of a high school diploma based on a competency exam unless the state could prove that the material on the test was taught in the classroom, that the test was fundamentally fair, and that the students were given adequate notice about the exam. In this case, the court determined that the test did not meet those requirements. The Florida education system was then mandated to remove the test (Philips ; Karger 5; “Summary”). This test was not implemented so that it would benefit the students in a positive way. The administrators should have put the students first. Later in the 1980’s, schools tried to implement exit exams but another problem arose. The dropout rate was increasing. Many citizens believed it was due to the stress placed on students to pass the exams (Warren 137). Students should not feel worried when they take the tests. They should be prepared and feel confident when the time comes. The schools did not properly prepare the students for the tests. The most important thing in high school is that the students are learning. If students are not being educated so they are confident in their skills, why are they there? Schools should teach students they can accomplish anything, and then give them tools to do it. Schools in California have implemented the California High School Proficiency Examination or CHSPE. The CHSPE is an exam that a student could take, and if they passed, he or she would receive the equivalent of a high school diploma and have the opportunity to leave high school. Since the program was implemented in 1975, adjustments have been made due to the lack of participants. Researchers believed that it was...
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