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The Milton Measure

Sophomores Will Be Allowed to Take U.S. History Next Year

by on Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Even as a Sophomore, course planning at Milton feels less like an opportunity to explore the many incredible courses that the acad offers and more like a pre-application we have to fill out for college. But why does it feel this way? Because once you enroll in the core requirement classes each year, there are only so many extra courses you can take. Clearly, a student can not take three history electives while also attempting to take an advanced science course, computer programming, and group theory.

While some departments are blessed with a required course every year, others are not so fortunate. However, the way that the departments encourage continued learning of that subject includes offering interesting electives after the requirement is over. For example, while only one full-year course in art is required during Classes III-I, the department also teaches an advanced portfolio class (the ultimate goal for dedicated art students) which is only accessible after taking another advanced art. Through this model, departments have effectively ensured the continuous loyalty of their students. However, though the history department offers similarly interesting electives (e.g. History of Civil Rights, African American History, History of the Middle East, etc.), few students actually get the opportunity to take them. The department requires the completion of U.S. History before a student can take an elective, and more and more students are opting to push U.S. History back to senior year. However, the History department has recently announced a change to its policy: while previously only available to upperclassmen, U.S. History will now be available to Sophomores. Whether this was a move made in an attempt to sway more students down a humanities path or simply an effort to help students spread a large workload out over more years, it’s a huge change.

While many freshmen are thrilled to be able to get the credit out of the way next year, most current sophomores are annoyed that they just missed the cutoff. “What the [heck] that’s so rude.” – Dariya Subkhanberdina (III) and “That’s pretty annoying honestly” – Cam Hoffman (III), were just two students’ responses.

The general consensus seems to be that while this new course choice is a great idea, students just wish it had been implemented sooner. However, Michael Ma (III), thinks that even if he had had the option to take U.S. History as a sophomore, he would have elected to take it later. He said, “Taking U.S. History sophomore year would be pretty challenging because your writing skills aren’t developed yet – it would be better to take it later.” While a very good point, this problem has already been foreseen by the history department.

According to Mr. Lou, a beloved history teacher, this new course will have sophomore-only sections, and therefore the teacher will have the freedom to continue developing writing skills with the class without wasting the time of any upperclassmen. Mr. Lou continued by stating that a main reason behind the change was that the history department “hopes kids who take history in sophomore year will fall in love with history and take more electives in their junior and senior years. [The new course] is designed to make their lives easier.”

From an administrative standpoint, when asked what the goal of this change was, Ms. Bonefant commented that “many schools across the country offer US history for sophomores in high school so this change for Milton is in line with that practice. This change also offers a history option for Class III students, which many students did not have. If you took Modern World History in Class IV, you did not have a history option in Class III and you had to wait for Class II for US. For students who are passionate about history, this could be disappointing.”

Personally, I would have loved the option to take U.S. History this year as a sophomore. But, though I am bitter, I do agree with Mr. Lou’s final statement about the new course: “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t roll [the option] out earlier. I’m just glad we’re starting now and not dragging in on. I think that the sooner we get it out, the quicker we can get the benefits to the Milton community.”

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Posted by on Mar 9 2017. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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