HB 163 threatens the freedom and opportunities of potential graduates


Hagar Gov-Ari

Art by Michelle Zhuang
As the graduating seniors of 2013 prepare for their final days at RBHS, they leave with their freedom, their individuality and the experimentations of their senior year. As of Feb. 2013, these experiences will be altered if Missouri House Bill 136 is passed, and students at RBHS and across Missouri will be forced into finishing their senior year with two mandatory, senior-level mathematics and science courses.
After the bill’s first hearing in February, its announcement unsettled some students with its sudden suggestion of the stripping of student ability to hand-select their course load for their last year of secondary school.
With the frustration and the objections that come with a state-regulated schedule, it is important to note that the math and science curriculums in high school are vital and irreplaceable by any classes available at RBHS or any high school for that matter.
The logic and thinking practices that accompany any heavy math or science course are necessary to the development of students as learners and as educated members of society. However, are both types of courses necessary for a full four years in contributing to the success of students throughout their high school careers?
Each contributes to the academic journey of high school students, and with the United States ranked a mere 11th in international standardized math scores and a 10th for science scores, according to a study conducted by the Institute of Educational Sciences, it’s clear that some reform is needed. Math allows students to explore problems both real and theoretical in various enlightening approaches. Science courses do the same, giving students a large realm of basic knowledge, including critical thinking, problem solving capabilities and a firm grasp of the natural world.
Math and science courses are vital to students’ educational experience, whether they’re invested in the mathematic-scientific end of academics or not. However, the choice to let the state regulate the course load of all high school seniors is a little extreme. The bill casually limits too much of the schedules of all seniors by taking up two of eight blocks in their schedule and demanding that all seniors with the exception of the academically superior, sign up for an excess of both math and science courses, regardless of the 3-credit rule, for these areas of study.
Instead of forcing students to take classes that may or may not affect career-oriented classes, giving students the option of taking one or the other will not only give students a stronger sense of freedom, but will also encourage a path of mathematical and scientific study which is growing immensely in the United States.
Undeniably, a background in math and science fields will contribute to the overall knowledge of any individual, despite their desired field of study. But so would classes that educate students in the fine arts and hands-on skills. By allowing students choice in their educational diet, the state legislature can give them the ability to explore new interests while still ensuring they are schooled in either the scientific or mathematical fields.
Therefore, the state legislatures and schools throughout the United States would benefit greatly in requiring only one course in the fields of either math or science as opposed to both.
This will open up the schedule for seniors to explore their individual interests of study and will give the state and the country the comfort that students will have an easy transition into universities and their futures by having all students maintain a steady level of study in the math and science fields.
Students will receive the chance to discover their individuality and talents by signing up for courses which challenge and interest them, while maintaining an involvement in the state-required math or science courses. This way, the bill would still encourage uniqueness and exploration, values promised to students at RBHS.
Math and science courses will ultimately benefit all individuals while satisfying state requirements. This will allow for the easy transition into a stronger state-regulated schedule for next year’s seniors. The opportunity to choose either math or science as opposed to both will make this transition even simpler. Forcing students to take both courses will inhibit this easy transition, make room for objections and provide an undesirable course load for all seniors.
By The Rock Staff
This is a staff editorial, in response to the question, “Should the House require students to take math and science classes senior year?”
Written by Hagar Gov-Ari