Monday, May 6, 2013

Seniors: Fun and Games. Everyone Else: Die.

My school has this little program called arena scheduling. The name says it all. Scheduling means "the process of selecting classes you will take the following school year". Arena means "fight to the death, children, and don't come crying to the adults when you fail. We designed this so the older kids will win."
Here's how it works. At about 2:32 P.M., you log in so you can stare at the screen and practice clicking. This isn't the time to plan out your classes. No, we're supposed to have a goal and a backup plan a week in advance. At 3:00 P.M., the program opens. At 3:01, all the classes you want are gone.
Electives vanish in the first few seconds. The best teachers go next. Most people have a parent working on a separate computer, but that's still not a guarantee you'll get the class you need.
Since our school has roughly 2,000 student to worry about, they divide it up by grade. The juniors go first. They'll be seniors next year. That means they're taking English, half a year of social studies, and the rest is all electives. They get to pick their schedules two days in advance.
I'm a sophomore. I took creative writing 1 this year, and at the urging of my teacher, decided to take creative writing 2. Every last seat was occupied before it opened.
High school lasts four years. You need 3.0 math credits, 3.0 science credits, and 3.5 social studies credits. But remember, English is important. It's the only four year core class.
My friend Hannah is an honors student. She went to a charter school that taught 10th grade honors English to freshman. They had the same program for accelerated learners at my school. That means my friends are  taking 11H as sophomores. So 12H next year, right?
Nope. Doesn't work like that. The curriculum only takes you up to junior year. After that you're on your own. They have AP classes since you'll be in college next year, but some brains are just too delicate for that. They can take Shakespeare, science fiction/fantasy, newspaper, or creative writing 1 and 2.
That explains a lot.
I write for the newspaper, but I couldn't get English credit for it. I'm not a senior. They'll only count it as an elective. I'd gladly do the same with sci fi/fantasy, but I'm banned from enrolling. I'm not a senior.
My friend Lauren is a Shakespeare fanatic. Her drama teacher recommended taking a Shakespeare as an elective. She asked her counselor about it and was told she couldn't. Not a senior. She enrolled anyways (there was still a seat open) and she's waiting to see if they'll kick her out.
It's not just classes. Only seniors are allowed to be club officers. I've heard of schools that block other grades from eating in outdoor courtyards and parking in the best spots.
They say senior year is glory year, but that's no reason to give seniors special privileges. They've done nothing to earn it but survive three years of public education and pass classes. They're given ample opportunity to take easier classes while younger students who want to challenge themselves are banned. We see enough ageism in the world without allowing it to flourish in high schools.
Look away, sophomores! This is too complicated for your underdeveloped brain!

Rant over. 

No comments:

Post a Comment