Personal Column: Change in Texas Education Causes stir

Romeeka+proves+that+some+friendships+can+last+forever+

Romeeka proves that some friendships can last forever

Romeeka Siddiqui
Romeeka Siddiqui
I walk out of calculus so relieved. My head hurts from trying to keep up with the teacher’s notes on the board, and I couldn’t leave any quicker.I know I’ll get home and watch countless YouTube videos on how to do the homework because it’s so confusing. Then I’ll come to tutoring the next day for help on the questions I didn’t understand at all.

Through all the struggles, I can’t help but wonder why I even took this class. Although math was never my best subject, I didn’t mind it much until this year. It’s my senior year and I have other things to worry about besides how to do integration by parts. Calculus isn’t even required for seniors but me being the overachiever I am, I just had to take it. It’s an AP class too. Great.

Even though it’s frustrating at times, I know this madness will pay off in the long run. It’s important to challenge oneself and do well in things one doesn’t naturally excel in. I like how high school students are required to take certain classes, no matter what their choice of study in college. For example, a student who plans on being an art major is still required to take chemistry and physics, though they may never use it in life. This makes kids well rounded, a quality essential in life beyond high school.

The state of Texas, however, is drastically changing its high school graduation requirements for the upcoming freshman this fall. Students will now have the chance to choose their classes based on five different pathways, called “endorsements”. These are arts and humanities, business and industry, public services, multidisciplinary studies, and STEM (science, math, engineering, and technology). Then there is a “foundation” plan, which maps out the absolute minimum courses needed to graduate. This program is made for students who don’t seek to attend a four- year college or university.

Basically, freshman will have to choose their general fields of careers at 14 and 15 years old. I personally don’t agree with this system at all for a countless number of reasons. First off, even students in college end up changing their majors numerous times before discovering what they love best. Freshmen don’t know anything; they’re babies straight out of middle school! A young boy might think he wants to become a psychologist just like his father, enroll in all appropriate classes, only to find out he hates it by his junior year. Now what? He just wasted three years of his high school education taking unnecessary courses that won’t help him in the future.

In this new system, math will only be required up to Algebra II. Because of this, SAT and ACT scores will plummet for most students. They won’t have the same skills learned in Precalculus when they take the standardized tests their junior year. This is only one of the many flaws of the new state graduation requirements, but while many disagree with it, some representatives of the Texas board of education love it.
Board member Ken Mercer, R- San Antonio, insists that this system gives kids a lot of options and that other states will follow what Texas has done. Personally, I say it will hurt more kids than help, but I guess we’ll never know unless we try. If it doesn’t work out, hopefully the state will realize the mistake they’ve made.