Yes: Too much grade chasing and time wasting

By Jack Metzger, Staff Writer


I want to expand on the comments I made during Town Hall.

I believe that the status of academics at Shalhevet is declining significantly, especially with the substitution of SAS, Shalhevet Advanced Studies, instead of APs. SAS classes, which allow the teacher to develop the curriculum, are sometimes brilliant classes, but oftentimes become a class that people take for the purpose of credit. The rigor of some is not as significant as others, but individuals get the same credit as for the rigorous courses.

People now take classes for the purpose of a GPA boost instead of the beauty of learning.

If you are interested in learning a subject or becoming a better student in a certain subject, do it. Take a hard class and challenge yourself to become a better student, a better writer, a better math student.

I have learned this lesson from experience. In my first three years of high school, I knew that I could get away with an A if I put in less effort on an essay, so I did so. This year, however, I did not have that same ease. I was forced to learn how to write, to explore ideas, to write a convincing topic sentence. I did not end with the grade I wanted, which may or may not have affected my college decisions, but I learned something far more valuable.

I challenge each and every one of you to actually choose your classes based on your interest and to challenge yourself. Do not take the easy way out, because if you do, you will not grow.

To respond to others’ points: I believe that the most valuable part of Shalhevet is the student life and the relationships with the teachers. I love the time allotted to those moments, but I also believe that it should not come to the detriment of a student’s education. We can do both, but sometimes, we must sacrifice student life activities that are only for the purpose of fun in order to further our education. You are in high school and want to learn, right?

I challenge each and every one of you to actually choose your classes based on your interest and to challenge yourself.

Not finishing a curriculum is not entirely the teacher’s or Shalhevet’s fault. But it is important to note that my math class, which is the most rigorous class at Shalhevet and filled with only five students, all who care about learning, did not finish the curriculum, despite being fully committed the entire year and having weekly extra classes. That was not the student’s fault, not the teacher’s fault, but a scheduling fault.

General Studies have often been at the short end of the stick when it comes to scheduling. Basketball games, Color War, SAC and other events often take time away from our education. I should not have to attend a Jewish day school and have my General Studies education be a second or even third thought.

Yes, Judaism will always be at the forefront of Shalhevet, but I, and I am sure many of you, would not have chosen this school if it was entirely Judaic. My General Studies education should be equal to my Judaic education and special events should not take as much time away from our education as it already does.

I truly believe that this is an important read about the challenges in our own education system. There is room for much more discussion on this topic.