McKinley High School Academy System

Effective or Not

Kelvin Ku, assistant editor

Students at McKinley High School should be given the option to not take an academy class. Since 2013, the purpose of academies has been to make learning more relevant to students by connecting things they learn in core classes such as English, math, science, and history to specific careers. The current system, however, does not encompass all areas of interest, leaving a portion of students dissatisfied.

The three academies MHS currently provides are Business Arts and Communications, Health, Human and Public Services, and Industrial Engineering Tech.

The three broad academies do satisfy a large portion of the student body. There will, however, be a portion of students that are interested in paths outside of what the academies our school is able to offer due to various limitations such as not having teachers with the credentials to teach them.

Such limitations force some students to take classes they have no interest in. The school, however, believes that academies will allow students to explore to find things to be interested in. If the student dislikes the class they are given, they have the option to switch pathways the following year or early in the year. In doing so, students are at least able to confirm that they are not interested in specific areas. This is also the reason that the school makes academy classes mandatory. The reason essentially is that students with no motivation or areas of interest be forced to find things to be interested in.

Despite such reasons, making academy classes mandatory is unreasonable. It is true that if one is unsure of what to do in the future, mandatory academy classes allow students to gain interest in subjects they never knew about or thought were boring or dull previously. In the same way, it is also possible for students to never gain interest. Some students may have areas of interest but those interests may not be offered at the school.

It is true that the pros likely still outweigh the cons for a majority of the students. Proof of this is the annual survey to see if students are satisfied with the current system in which a majority says yes.

In the end, though, a majority satisfied still means a portion of students are not satisfied with our current system. Students dissatisfied with being forced to take academy classes should not be forced to take them. Each of them may have reasons such as being interested in a career outside of what the school offers.

As a compromise, the school can require students that do not wish to take an academy class to give a reasonable response to why they do not want to. These students would then be able to take other elective classes or another core class.

A version of this article also appears, and there may be some differences in content and language.