As of last week, a change to the freshman social studies curriculum has been proposed by the new administration. The plan includes removing the civics and economics curriculum from the freshman required courses and instead replacing it with a year-round geography course. This plan has become especially well known because of the similarities it has to East High School’s freshman curriculum.
As soon as this plan was proposed, several students and staff had problems with the changes. One student, Kathrine Chadd, a Junior in the IB Programme at George states, “I don’t think the changes are necessary. I feel as if economics and civics were especially important to take in freshman year for me because they gave me a sense of what social studies courses I wanted to tackle in my future years, and which courses I definitely wanted to stay away from.”
This distaste with the changes seems to ripple throughout the teachers and staff members at George as well. One teacher who is extremely against the changes is Mr. Corey, a well known and respected civics teacher at George. Although this isn’t a formal sit-down interview with him, since he was recently put on mandated leave, here are some transcribed quotes briefly stating his opinions on the subject. “You know when the administration changes the classes, and students with differing work ethics and intelligence are put in one class, the smarter students are going to be forced to teach the lower students. The teachers just won’t have time for that.”
That’s another proposed change, to merge traditionally honors and regular students into the one geography class. The opinions on this part of the proposition are more two sided than the opinions on the first part of the proposition. Based on the interviews conducted, the students taking honors classes are not in favor of this particular section of the plan, whereas the students taking traditional classes are in favor. A student taking honors civics, Nina Weprin, says “If we combine honors and non honors students, then the teachers are gonna be forced to make a choice if they want to stay with the students who don’t learn as fast, and hinder the other student’s learning, or if they want to go ahead with the students who learn faster and leave behind the other students.”
A differing perspective appears when you talk to students in traditional classes. One student who prefers to remain anonymous says, “I would love the chance to get to learn with my other peers. I feel like it would really unite our school and help each class get to know more people through instruction.”
Even if the students and staff are divided on the proposition, the administration will decide eventually. Weprin states, “I mean whatever happens, the school’s still gonna work.”