The Two Faces of Required Classes

Required courses such as Irvine Unified School District’s new physics requirement are double-edged swords that may harm students more than help them


Noor Addal

A required physics class could act as a roadblock in students freedom of class choice

Students have a tendency to gravitate towards classes about topics they enjoy or are interested in. However, when requirements are set, there are cases where students are unhappy in the classes they are taking.

With the new physics standard, students have less freedom to make their own decisions on what classes they are willing to take, making it difficult to succeed.

According to The Sun Chronicle, “Many students feel that courses they are taking in high school are not relevant to the field of study they would eventually major in at a higher level of education.”

Necessitating various courses that are applicable to students can actually demotivate the student and decrease their overall productivity. They are now obligated to undertake hours of work in a subject that disinterests them and are thus reluctant to do so.

Furthermore, additional standards prohibit students from taking classes they actually want to take and the classes that they like.

Consequently, students are becoming overwhelmed with the mounting expectations they feel are coming from adults and their school environment.

The standardized system for classes induces constant stress about meeting certain requirements purposefully set in place by colleges.

According to a study by New York University, “The college admissions process is full of pressure, and is causing many students to have greater mental health issues. These highly selective schools and parents are responding to this competitive climate. Private schools have reacted by providing more difficult classes…college-level classes.”

Teenagers are discovering their identities in high school. They bear an unhealthy level of stress for their age, caught in the demands and expectations that are driven by factors out of their control.

The issue of forced class requirements is becoming more difficult for students to handle and is bringing the American societal pressures inside the doors of high school classrooms where students are supposed to learn, grow and feel safe to make mistakes.

However, they end up feeling just the opposite. Woodbridge High should honor the fact that students are working their hardest to handle the demands of growing up, and they should not require them to take an extra physics class or any other additional required classes if they are not interested.

Nevertheless, these requirements provide crucial knowledge about the world for students – knowledge that students might use in the future. For example, biology and chemistry science courses provide students basic worldly knowledge about how our bodies and chemicals work. The new physics requirement, likewise, provides students with basic knowledge about how the universe works.

It gives teens an understanding of the distances between Earth and other planets in the solar system, allowing people to know how long the sun will continue to burn, and provides the necessary knowledge for technologies such as wind turbines, alloys, polymers and nuclear sciences, which all benefit our environment. Physics provides a base for other physical sciences and has
had a profound impact on how citizens view the high importance of science in society.

In addition, a study by Walden University claimed there are some requirements needed to gain knowledge of the world and amplify your communications with one another.

The new physics requirement is a double-edged sword. Although it provides some understanding of the world around us, it simultaneously increases student stress and pressures when we really do not need more.