Honors American Studies for Class of 2020 and Beyond
American Studies is a rigorous course designed to prepare students for college. There is a big focus on large group discussion about American history and literature within this block class. The class is the talking point of junior year and what many students say make junior year the hardest of all, but next year the class will not be required and an alternate english/history class will be offered. Should the class of 2020 and those who follow be required to take this rigorous course like every junior before them?
While many students who have already taken American Studies are angry that students next year won’t have to suffer through the rigorous block course, there are good reasons to offer an alternate course for upcoming juniors. In the past, students have held back from taking more than one or two AP courses their junior year to make sure they have time for American Studies. Students that wanted to focus on subject areas other than history/literature didn’t have the option to explore because they needed to make sure they could pass American Studies. This easier option of history/literature gives students some leeway to explore their junior year and find out what they really want to do after high school or college.
Even though American Studies will become optional, it is important for upcoming juniors to know the importance of taking the class. It can be very difficult but it is very well designed and can turn anyone into a decent writer which is crucial for college or even jobs right out of high school. While the option is given to take advantage of this class, many students will choose the easier course and not explore that year, and then they are only missing out. So while it is good to have the option, it is only useful if students take advantage of the extra time they would have if they take the easier history/english.
The new American Studies will also be an honors credit, meaning upcoming juniors will have to do a little bit more work than previous students who did not go for the optional honors credit. Now, honors won’t be a choice.
This new system takes pressure off of students who are interested in the arts, STEM, language, etc. and who want to pursue a few AP courses their junior year. I think that this new system will be effective if implemented in the right way and that we should have an optional American Studies class. We will have to wait and see how effective the new english and history classes are at college prep skills but for now, American Studies still seems like the best option to become a better writer your junior year. The option will be good for the school but it is very important that students take advantage of harder classes in other areas if they choose to take the easier english and history.