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Back to December Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 275 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS DECEMBER 2008

Schools Adopt Unusual Electives
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Unusual electives are gaining ground in some public high schools, especially ones in affluent areas where most students are college-bound. Parents and students ask for such electives in hopes that they will interest admissions committees at top colleges.

Ridgewood High School in New Jersey is adding global economics, 3-D animation, and woodworking as electives over the next two years. Pelham Memorial High School in New York recently extended its school day and reworked its schedule in order to offer 50% more electives. The new electives include military history, guitar, jewelry and metalsmithing, ecology, and the history of rock and roll. There is even an elective course on SAT math preparation, which students normally pay steep prices to study outside of school with Kaplan or the Princeton Review.

Newport High School in Oregon added an elective called "Oregon Outdoors" this year. The class integrates some science and state history, but its primary attraction is instruction in outdoor sports such as surfing, scuba diving, kiteboarding, hunting, and fishing.

The students, of course, love Oregon Outdoors and the associated field trips, but the class also has its critics. "What are they doing on the weekends, or summer vacation?" asked one Oregonian. "Most of the population in Oregon utilizes the wonderful outdoors in one way or another. These teens need education, not playtime." (Newport New Times, 11-7-08)

Greg Bratone, a senoir at Pelham High School in New York, was enthusiastic about his school's new elective offerings. "With some classes, you don't like the subject that much - I wasn't a big science person - but now that it's military history, I'm all ears," he said.

While some districts are adding new electives, others are cutting them in order to add more math, science, or languages. (New York Times, 10-27-08)


 
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