I was reading through one of the various eBooks by James Gray (How to Become a Philosopher) and I wanted to see if he had written anything on Philosophy in relation to school requirements. It turns out he has in his article Philosophy Should be an Educational Requirement in High School & College. This sparked a train of ideas on whether or not to actually create this post.
Personal High School Experience
I want to start this section by saying I loved my high school experience. The main reason it was so great was due to the freedom I had in choosing 2 of my class categories past freshman year. For some reference, we had to choose some class belonging to a category, while the last 2 classes could of been any topic (elective or not).
Courses Categories for Graduation
Typically a school will separate classes into categories. For instance, this is how my high school did that: https://www.losal.org/Page/374. As you can see they created an "A - G" system, where of the 220 required graduation credits 65 are entirely elective (32.5 %) and a maximum of 40 credits / semester.
The categories I'll use are:
- World Language
I'll give some reasons as to why I propose these categories after I explain their extent in school.
I'm admit I love mathematics so much so I'd say I'm a philomath. However, I do realize that many, upon many people abhor mathematics. I find this saddening, but facts are facts. What I propose is that everyone take up to Algebra II. Initial assessment or past courses in Middle School will determine where to start as a Freshman. This should be a Sophomore or Junior level course if no remediation or retakes are required.
What I propose is split between several courses. I propose a year of Biology, Chemistry, and one semester of a Health course. Biology being a Freshman course and Chemistry following the next year. Health can be taken at any time in HS however.
Given 3 choices (being Meta-ethics, Critical Thinking, and Morality) choose 2 of which each will be taken for a semester. A simple, but very fruitful set of classes that can be taken at any point in the HS career.
I propose that between Spanish, French, Latin, or an Asian language (Chinese, Japanese, etc.) pick one to study for a year. This is mainly proposed in correspondence to the multitude of job opportunities created by knowing more than 1 language. This is also a mandatory Freshman class.
Senior English was where I changed my whole perspective on life. I was exposed to so many new topics through our creative assignments that I really can't thank my teacher enough. With this in mind, I propose 2 years and a semester of English. One year of writing various literary forms, another dedicated to Literature (either American or foreign; student chooses), and a semester dedicated to: Linguistics, Literary Theory, Poetry, or Self-Exploration (like Jordan Peterson's Self-Authoring Suite).
Given that the US was establish roughly ~ 1800 A.D. (B. C. E.), I propose a semester detailing history prior to the US being established and another from its establishment to the present (total 1 year). Knowing the fundamentals of history will pay great dividends in anyone's future.
Electives / Remediation
Available elective courses will be relevant to those able to be taught by staff an those approved by the relative Education Boards. Remediation will comprise the fundamentals of each relative major category needed to proceed to the major course itself. I should add that you don't see Physical Education on here. The reason is simple: if the student can pass a basic physical fitness test every semester they won't have to take P.E. That and athletics / sports is available under Electives in my model.
Visual Representation of My Model
As you can see 25 of the 48 available classes in the 4 years at HS are predetermined (23 if Algebra II achieved in Sophomore year) and 23 (~ 48%) are left to be chosen by the student if they meet the class requirements.
- Why is algebra so important?
- Do We Really Need To Learn Advanced Math? One Professor's Case For A More 'Practical' Approach
- Maths is important but should it be compulsory?
- THE IMPORTANCE OF MATHEMATICAL POWER IN MATHEMATICS LEARNING
- THE IMPORTANCE OF MATHEMATICS
- The Effective Mathematics Classroom
- Math isn't hard, it's a language
- World Language
I could've used a bunch of studies and related articles / PDFs, but I felt actual uses of these categories and stories would serve as far more persuasive in this instance. Regardless, there are a multitude of reasons for them and this is the model I propose. I'll leave you with this: