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Thread: The Legitimacy of Forced Health Class

  1. #1

    Default The Legitimacy of Forced Health Class

    Hello my friends. Today I come to you with a very serious issue in my mind. In my high school, a health class must be taken one of your four years, or you may not graduate. I actually wrote a letter to my guidance councilor, my congressman, and my governor (I live in New York), but apparently none of the three thought a 15-year old was important enough to answer. So here is my letter, containing all my reasons for thinking I shouldn't be forced to take health class.

    Please note that I am in the top 10 (perhaps 5) oh my grade, and that I am in and enjoy being in my band. Just like all intelligent high school students, the dumber half of my grade aren't the nicest people to me...

    To (insert the various people here),

    Hello, I am a ninth grade student at (SCHOOL NAME), and around two or three months ago I was informed by my guidance counselors that legally, I was required to take at least one health class by my senior year. Now, I had no major problems with the health class in middle school, except that it was a waste of half a period for me. I spent the entire period working on real subjects that would get me somewhere in life, and still passed with an A in the class. Now that I am in high school, I expected the chance to broaden my horizons with the free elective system. I could finally take classes that interested me, and I could get out of the classes in which I was stuck with peers that either did not take school seriously (thus distracting me from my education), didn't want to be in school (thus distracting me from my education), or in a majority of the situations, both.

    So I understood that legally I had to take an art of music credit to pass high school, okay I am in band, and I plan to be in it for all four years, check. I understand that all four years I must take a Physical Education class. Grinding my teeth, I accepted this; the state wants to pretend that 30 minutes (42 minutes minus two five minute changing times) of minimal exercise will keep kids healthy. Besides these two classes, I thought that I would be in the clear, I am an all-honors student, and I plan to either become an engineer, some type of a mathematician, or a doctor when I get older. I had my entire high school schedule planned out so that I could take all the classes I wanted to, and get the best education possible. In this tentative schedule, I did not give myself a lunch any of my three remaining years, and I took the optional independent science research class after school all three remaining years.

    So let's take a look at what this schedule would have offered me:

    (Not Posting My schedule, just be aware that it contains no lunch except for a half a period in my freshman year, which I finished. It also contains 11 AP classes. I also have an optional research class everyday every year after school.)


    Okay, so this schedule offers me half a lunch only my freshman year. I get to take all the classes I want, maximizing my possible college acceptance rate. Sure, my schedule is a little packed, but I get to utilize the absolutely amazing tool that is public education. Now I find out, wait I HAVE TO take another class for half the year, health? That doesn't seem very democratic to me, but I have to try to fit it in, do you see a spot where I can? Yeah, I don't either. Let's see, my guidance counselors recommend I take it 10th grade, so I take out AP Stats, and switch it with Antimony and Physiology/ Intro to C++. Now let's see, to take my state mandated course, I have to remove one of these classes from my schedule... now what did I see my possible futures careers would be? My interests? Oh that's right! Doctor, engineer, and mathematician. I find not only the human body to be absolutely wonderful and fascinating, but I love math and technology, and I wish to be a part of that expanding field. Wait so that means that NEW YORK STATE IS FORCING ME TO NOT TAKE A CLASS THAT INTERESTS ME IMMENSELY, AND INSTEAD MAKES ME TAKE HEALTH. Wow, that sounds extremely democratic to me...

    Okay now let's ignore my higher educational reasoning. Let's move on to the argument that health is an absolutely needed class to teach our children about sex and drugs. With that sentence alone I feel extremely insulted, and so should any other free-thinking American. Are you telling me that my parents and I are too stupid to formally educate ourselves about sex and drugs? Any child, who is stupid enough to have unprotected sex in high school and middle school, isn't going to stop just because some teacher tells them how unsafe it is. It is the same thing with drugs and alcohol. I have at least ten different friends who within the last three weeks of this letter have gotten drunk over the weekend. They are all fine. I tell them, "Guys, drinking is bad for you, etc..." Would you like to know their response? "Tony, it's fine, I don't drink that often/enough to harm me."

    Now obviously probably two of those ten kids actually do drink enough/often enough to harm themselves, but what will my warning do? Personally, it is the parents job to talk to the kids about these things. If the parent doesn't want to, it is their choice. Don't create a mandatory health class to force the parents to allow their kids to learn about this topic. Sex and drugs have no place in our school, why don't we keep it that way. Why don't we allow smart children to opt out of the class, if they prove they have a reasonable knowledge of the subject matter? Why don't we let out schools actually be democratic for a change.

    Sincerely,
    (MY NAME)

    Now guys, if you think I am being unreasonable, please tell me. Honestly, I think all my points are valid, but I would love to hear your opinions on it. Oh, and as of now, I am taking health next year (no one answered my letter).

    Thanks in advance,
    RussianRonaldo

  2. #2

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    I don't see the big deal with taking health class. just suck it up and focus on the rest of high school.

  3. #3

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    Even in college your forced to take classes you don't want. Anyways this health class is what one semester of your 4 years in high school? Suck it up, their not going to make a exception for you.


    If you want to know some real bullshit. I "quit" high school after finishing all of my credits and finish both parts of the CA exit exam. Trough odd cirumstances I was also required to do a senior project I was unprepared for due to my schooling situation. This year at 24 years of age I went to the adult school of my home district and presented them with the full transcripts showing them I had more then 10 credits needed to graduate. this is after the district dropped the senior project. So I just got my diploma in a few days right? Wrong!

    They made me complete 10 credits (2 units) because it's a damn requirement to do work at the school. I asked the "teacher" (more like a babysiter for 18-50 year old's) what he thought of this and even he thought it was insane. I had all the credits to graduate, it was in the schools system. But nope they still made me tough out 2 weeks of the most medicore work they had. The teacher gave me the easy courses music history and life skills.

    Thankfully I only spent maybe 12 days total doing it. But it required my dad to shuffle me there, then pick me up 4 hours later. so 4 trips a day at like 10 miles 4 days a week. Despite the class being " free" it was hardly free in gas. :P


    The good news is I got a real HS diploma even though it says ___ adult school. Also my friend bought and directly shipped 16 bellismo's to me as a grad gift and got 20 bucks from my mom and grandma. Though that mainly went to dinner and a nuk 5.

  4. #4

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    you know, Carly;

    i think that you are both a very intelligent and independent person. it's very obvious to me that you don't fit into the standard one-size-fits-all mold that your educational system seems to be using. maybe that has something to do with the times in which we live in. maybe it has something to do with the over crowded school system you have the miss fortune of attending. maybe it's just apathy on the part of the people who should be looking out for gifted folks such as your self, and encouraging them into special or custom education/career paths.... mentoring you in effect.....

    i don't guess that you have the option of going to a private school, do you? or in some other way finding your own custom path to the credit requirements to enter the higher education institution of your choice. so letter witting and knocking on doors is all i can see to do. talk to everyone who will talk to you about this and don't take no for an answer.

    i will not tell you to just stick it out and deal with it. you are too independent for that. and i know you will find a way because your just not the type to take "no" for an answer. that is the type of a person to get what others can't, one way or another.....

    encouragement is all i have.....

  5. #5

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    My school, in a country with one of the laxest rules in the world about class choices for high school students, still required me to spend a couple of hours a week for several months on "general studies". It also had compulsory sports. Yes, possibly atypical for my country but the point is, you can't just expect the established authority to change things to suit you.

    Most school administrators assume that students are idiots who can't be trusted to make responsible decisions for themselves. This is because most of them are. You will find that most people, even as adults, don't want autonomy. They want people to make decisions for them.

    Either find a charter school, or (private school if you can afford it) that is more suited to you, or deal with the reality that public high schools will not treat you like you're an adult who can take care of themselves.

    School isn't really about education. It's about getting a series of pieces of paper that employers like.
    Last edited by x000017; 29-Jun-2012 at 11:17.

  6. #6

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    Man, I had to take "personal development" in ninth AND tenth grade. Plus I had to take shop (sans a qualified shop teacher) in tenth grade. And I had no class choice (except for music vs arts) until 11th grade. And my school had no AP courses.

    Get used to taking classes you don't want to take. Its BS, but its also reality. Until recently CS students at my school still had to take Economics for Engineers, which is widely recognized as being the worse economics course offered by my school (essentially they try to cram the micro and macro courses into one semester... ya). They also changed the degree requirements to remove the requirement to take four arts courses... after I lowered my GPA by taking four arts courses. Yush. Academia, its bureaucratic and frustrating, but its the rules we all play by.

  7. #7

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    Or get a scholarship to study in Europe, where degree courses are less broad, and more about achieving mastery in a specific area than having a well-rounded general education.

    Of course, this then gives you the disadvantage that you have no real excuse not to give everything your best effort. The intense focus on one subject basically means you may have little opportunity to pursue anything else, so you'd better enjoy what you've chosen. And if you want to change your major more than a month or so into the degree (assuming the department responsible for the major you want to switch to accepts you at all), you're going to find it pretty difficult.

    Every system has things that could be improved. A sensible person doesn't dwell on how the system is bad, but instead focuses on gaming the system to their advantage.

    If you're as intelligent as you claim, I'm sure you can find a way to be happy without having to have everything happen as you would like it.

  8. #8

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    Never say anything sarcastic in a letter to a congressman/governor/anybody. It's best to always be polite, and remember that the person you're writing to is going to be very busy, so keep letters short and concise. Another thing to remember is that your representative may actually already agree with what you're saying, it's unlikely that they personally voted for a health class to be mandatory.

    A better letter would be one where you politely say:
    1) That you are a constituent of the person you're writing to. (Or whatever the equivalent language is for Americans.)
    2) That the law concerning this class has caused you problems, briefly explaining the issue.
    Any then ask your question. Ask him/her where he/she stands on... giving schools the freedom to decide whether a student can reasonably choose to not study a particular class, or giving parents the freedom to be able to opt their children out of classes, or whatever question you want.

  9. #9

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    I'm from the uk and have to ask what the hell is health class? I mean we had plenty of stupid lessons at my school, I went to a catholic high school so had to do two hours RE ( religious ed ) two hours PE ( physical ed ) and two hours French! And music on top of that! Now RE was to much and very over the top, but religous school so fair enough PE we actually had a lot of equipment, eight full size trampolines, two gyms one indoor basketball court one outdoor, four tennis courts, a squash court, running circuit, long jump sand pit, cricket pitch a rugby pitch and three soccer pitches and that doesn't even include all the field sports equipment! That was great well done them, but music? After three years I still couldn't read sheet music, wouldn't hope to be fantastic but you'd think they would teach you well enough to hum the tune off the sheet! If you didn't seek out an instrument you lost out end of. Then there's French it was compulsory to take a language for one of your seven exams no way out. Now I'm no genius but I do ok in the fields I like, I got a double B for sciences my favourite, but French I was in the bottom class I couldn't count past 12 I still can't put a sentence together but they made me take it for five years then when it came to it told me not to sit the exam because I'd fail! How many hours wasted that could have been spent helping me get B's in my other subjects GOD THEY WASTED MY TIME!!!!!!!!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilsteve View Post
    I'm from the uk and have to ask what the hell is health class? I mean we had plenty of stupid lessons at my school, I went to a catholic high school so had to do two hours RE ( religious ed ) two hours PE ( physical ed ) and two hours French! And music on top of that! Now RE was to much and very over the top, but religous school so fair enough PE we actually had a lot of equipment, eight full size trampolines, two gyms one indoor basketball court one outdoor, four tennis courts, a squash court, running circuit, long jump sand pit, cricket pitch a rugby pitch and three soccer pitches and that doesn't even include all the field sports equipment! That was great well done them, but music? After three years I still couldn't read sheet music, wouldn't hope to be fantastic but you'd think they would teach you well enough to hum the tune off the sheet!
    Sight-reading music is hard. I've played clarinet since primary school, and I still can't hum a tune off a sheet. I often struggle to play it on clarinet without hearing it first. That sort of thing takes a hell of a lot of practice.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lilsteve View Post
    If you didn't seek out an instrument you lost out end of. Then there's French it was compulsory to take a language for one of your seven exams no way out. Now I'm no genius but I do ok in the fields I like, I got a double B for sciences my favourite, but French I was in the bottom class I couldn't count past 12 I still can't put a sentence together but they made me take it for five years then when it came to it told me not to sit the exam because I'd fail! How many hours wasted that could have been spent helping me get B's in my other subjects GOD THEY WASTED MY TIME!!!!!!!!
    Really, it's not your school's job to make sure you get Bs. It's your job.

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