Elective enrollment declines due to academic pursuits

Visual+and+performing+art+elective+class+numbers+are+suffering+in+the+wake+of+academic+pressure.

Gazette/GBT.org file photo/HEBA BOUNAR

Visual and performing art elective class numbers are suffering in the wake of academic pressure.

   Elective enrollment at Granite Bay is on the decline this year. Fewer and fewer students are enrolling in optional classes, and one reason could be that students feel pressure to take higher-level AP and IB classes.

   Media teacher Zachary Weidkamp argues “students are not enjoying high school because of incorrectly perceived (academic) expectations.” 

   Weidkamp feels that students should broaden their horizons outside of the academic realm.

   “You can never go back and repeat the high school experience again,” Weidkamp said. “I think the culture is bad for students and limits their… options.” 

   According to Weidkamp, colleges are looking for more well rounded students, not just for those with the highest GPA. 

   “I don’t think that students and parents really fully understand what colleges are looking for in students,” Weidkamp said. “I also don’t think that colleges have clearly communicated what they are not looking for.” 

   According to prepscholar.com, taking electives are a good way for colleges to gauge a student’s interests and abilities and can also help them gain an advantage over other students who took a less well-rounded schedule. 

   GBHS assistant principal Jessup McGregor has a similar opinion. 

   “Without looking at the numbers, my impression is that there is a large concern over GPA and (getting into) college,” McGregor said. “They’re looking to pick classes that will make them… competitive after high school.” 

You can never go back and repeat the high school experience again. I think the culture is bad for students and limits their… options.

— Zachary Weidkamp

   Numbers aren’t just dropping at GBHS though, during the 2017-2018 school year, over 230 elective teachers were laid off in New York alone, according to  publicschoolreview.com. 

   The site also reported that students who took certain music classes scored approximately 44 points better on the math portion of the SAT than students who didn’t. Some might argue that 44 points can be the difference between getting into an Ivy League school and getting rejected, which is something some students take extremely seriously. 

   However, there are two sides to this issue.

   “I feel like… some people feel the need to take that extra AP class instead of doing something that they’re interested in, but I would say on the other hand sometimes people are actually interested in that AP subject material,” said GBHS senior, Faraaz Godill. 

   This is a reality at Granite Bay High, as many students are genuinely interested in their AP class or classes of choice, regardless of whether or not they earn college credits. 

   Godil also participates in electives in addition to the challenging classes that he takes. 

   “(I) take AP classes but… also participate in speech and debate,” Godill said. “I wouldn’t say it’s mutually exclusive.” 

   Although it’s obviously not impossible to take high-level classes alongside electives, it’s not easy. 

   Many students find themselves in a tough position, having to choose between one or the other as each option takes up a class slot and, depending on the course, time they could be spending on something else. 

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