The Instigator
Bouldersky
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
blackkid
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Should high level liberal arts be mandatory in high school? (in the US)

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
blackkid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 945 times Debate No: 65057
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

Bouldersky

Con

The school system's function is to get the youngest population of the country ready to enter society. This is made difficult because the school system is only allocated a certain amount of money and time. As a result, schools need to make trade offs, adding funding and quality and funding to some subjects, but removing funding from other subjects.

This makes sense, until we think about how this is decided. The idea of providing the next generation with an understanding of the world is great, and I fully support that, however, the level of proficiency required in many classes is far outside the scope of required knowledge. For example, there is almost no circumstance in every day life in which anyone who isn't a professional mathematician would need to know how to solve quartic equations. That said, we invest teaching time into it. The same goes for English, when is the last time you ever had to analyze a Shakespearean poem? (I'm assuming you aren't a Shakespearean scholar, in which case, oops)

Not only are these kinds of subjects a waste of time, they are destructive. The resources appropriated to these subjects are not being appropriated to others. Think of the benefit to graduating high school students if we, for example, replaced Algebra 2 with a mandatory accounting class, and made algebra an elective class. They would be familiar with concepts of interest, how loans work, perhaps the core concepts behind the stock market, and things like that. The benefit would be huge.

Another benefit of making many of these classes electives would be a huge increase in the competency of the students graduating who took these classes. In an elective class, the students choose to be there. As a result, the rigor of these students would be inherently higher. An environment where all students are interested and engaged is far more immersive and efficient.

Another benefit of this system is that it is very flexible to serious students' wishes as far as specificity. A student might want a career in, say, computer science. Being required to spend hundreds if not thousands of hours learning French is an insane waste of time. In this system, they could sign up for, say, advanced math, science, programming, and English. On the other side of the spectrum, a student who is unsure what profession they would like to do would be able to sign up for a wide range of classes, doing a broad investigation into various subjects.

In addition, the college screening process would be more accurate. If someone has climbed Mt. Everest, that doesn't mean they are all of a sudden ready to be the chief engineer for Boeing. The same should go for colleges. A student applying to an engineering school who has taken nothing but art classes, but has gotten straight As should not be accepted over a student who has taken nothing but engineering classes, but gotten -As. While this is somewhat in practice now, an implementation of this system could result in a far more qualified student body.

This system also benefits the students who don't go to college, or drop out all together. These students more than any need this kind of optimization. They have very little time to be educated to the point of being a functional citizen. This system of replacing many of the current mandatory classes with vocational classes would give these students the skills they need to get and hold a job, right out of high school. Things like interview skills, again, basic accounting, and basic computer skills would be hugely valuable, much more so than current standards.

The current system of education puts too much focus on information which is not useful in life after academia. A system which still allowed for exploration of these ideas, but also enforced an education in vocational training would be vastly superior to the current system of education.

Good luck and have fun.
blackkid

Pro

"... there is almost no circumstance in every day life in which anyone who isn't a professional mathematician would need to know how to solve quartic equations. That said, we invest teaching time into it. The same goes for English, when is the last time you ever had to analyze a Shakespearean poem? (I'm assuming you aren't a Shakespearean scholar, in which case, oops)."

Mastery of language is used all the time. The very fact that you know of Shakespearan sayings such as "A rose by any other name" and how they are commonly integrated into society is pretty solid as a fact. Ignorance of common sayings, common poets, commonly cited artists, and commonly projected stories is pretty bad and will leave you out in the cold looking ignorant really quickly in the adult world.

"Not only are these kinds of subjects a waste of time, they are destructive. The resources appropriated to these subjects are not being appropriated to others. Think of the benefit to graduating high school students if we, for example, replaced Algebra 2 with a mandatory accounting class, and made algebra an elective class. They would be familiar with concepts of interest, how loans work, perhaps the core concepts behind the stock market, and things like that. The benefit would be huge."

That wouldn't make sense since complex accounting requires higher level math than algebra 2. I understand however you are trying to say that there needs to be a more practical application but merging the two makes far more sense than replacing one with the other especially since Accounting is a lot more than math (http://smallbusiness.chron.com...).

"Another benefit of making many of these classes electives would be a huge increase in the competency of the students graduating who took these classes..."

This requires a citation.

"Another benefit of this system is that it is very flexible to serious students' wishes as far as specificity. A student might want a career in, say, computer science. Being required to spend hundreds if not thousands of hours learning French is an insane waste of time. In this system, they could sign up for, say, advanced math, science, programming, and English..."

This lowers general knowledge. (http://www.topuniversities.com...) for instance relating to languages you cannot ever "not" use them. It is never worthless to be able to further communicate. It increases your value exponentially for every language you learn. The same is true of any other skill (https://www.americanexpress.com...) with some being completely beyond the scope of expectation. Many people find that advanced English for instance gives them the eloquent edge needed to seal deals or that advanced math (http://www.ted.com...) can help expand how you think and make for a stronger analytical base.

"In addition, the college screening process would be more accurate... A student applying to an engineering school who has taken nothing but art classes, but has gotten straight As should not be accepted over a student who has taken nothing but engineering classes, but gotten -As."

This was long solved as most undergraduate programs have required classes to even enter. This is a non-issue.

Paragraph #6 relates to vocational training which there are already vocational schools and school programs available and they are offered to HS students. It is not hidden information and there is no secret handshake.

"The current system of education puts too much focus on information which is not useful in life after academia.", this ultimately is where you need to prove that any of the information above is truly worthless. I can think of many ways in business alone all of the skills you listed could come handy. While goal-oriented training is useful (that is training for a specific job) there is no reason to believe that a general level of education is harmful or wasteful that you've adequately provided.
Debate Round No. 1
Bouldersky

Con

Bouldersky forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Bouldersky

Con

Bouldersky forfeited this round.
blackkid

Pro

To think if only everything was this easy.
Debate Round No. 3
Bouldersky

Con

Bouldersky forfeited this round.
blackkid

Pro

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
It is not the schools function to get kids ready to be responsible adults. That is the parents function. Schools should be there only for reading, writing and arithmetic.Government has turned them into liberal social engineering mills.How is that working out? Ridlin, metal detectors, school shootings.

Reading, writing and arithmetic were all pushed aside so little Johnny will not feel loss of self-esteem because he did not make a good grade.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
BoulderskyblackkidTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture