How can “electives” be required?

Brittany’s preparing to enter 9th grade: high school. In the process, she has to choose the classes she wants to take along with the classes she’s required to take. School sure has come a long way in the … ahem … 20+ years since I graduated. I seem to recall having to earn only 16 credit hours. Brittany and her grade (graduating class of 2013) must earn 24 credit hours. Last I looked, they didn’t add any hours to the day.

But as we were going over the list with her, we ran across a few confusing items. She had a sheet with all the possible classes listed on them with many of the classes checked. She also had a booklet with a full list of her requirements to graduate, along with an explanation of each of the classes.

Now she had one class checked, Technology Applications (or some such) and when we asked her why she said the counselor had said it was required. We flipped back to the list of graduation requirements and saw that it wasn’t listed. So, you know what happened next.

I called the school and asked for some information to help clear things up for us. The counselor I spoke with (not the same one Brittany spoke to) said the Tech. Appl. was indeed an elective. I was glad to clear that up—but wait, the counselor confirmed that Brittany had to take the class.


I asked the counselor to repeat please. She repeated that Brittany is required to take the class, but it is an elective. I laughed and told the counselor it couldn’t be both a requirement and an elective. She then tried to explain that our school is a Tech Prep school, something which I’d never heard before and proceeded to explain that it is a requirement for the school but it is listed as an elective.

Now, before you get angry at the counselor, realize that she’s just doing what she’s been trained to do…and she probably went to Ole Miss. Aside from that fact, BJ and I are really very fond of the school and though we were a bit befuddled at it all, we weren’t/aren’t angry. In fact, with the exception of the laboratory school at UNA, the school Brittany and Brett currently attend is without a doubt the best they’ve been to—and that includes schools in three states.

But, wondering if maybe I was confused, I pulled out the dictionary. Webster’s defines elective as: permitting a choice: Optional (an elective course in school).

I was relieved to read that the definition hadn’t actually changed the way words sometimes do.

Brittany does have the choice to take ROTC instead of the Tech class, but she’s already said she doesn’t want to have anything to do with that one. Maybe that is what they really consider as the “elective” part.

On another brief note…I got the call today and will be coaching Brett’s baseball team. Hopefully this is the first of several years as with Brittany. And yes, I’ll keep you posted in this very space. And you may elect to read or not. J



Filed under Columns

2 responses to “How can “electives” be required?

  1. Landon (little cuzz)

    School’s getting tougher. I shoulda gone to the CC in Poplar Bluff at least. I’m trying to get it all in now and I don’t believe they taught us this stuff in HS…and I’m taking lower level stuff to start up on!! Hope you don’t plan on helping her with school work cause it ain’t what we learned…and I considered you old when I graduated!!! hahaha
    Take care cuzz!!

  2. They probably taught it…but if you were like me, you just didn’t pay attention! I can help her with history and English…but she’s already way ahead of me in math!
    Where are you going to school and what are you studying?

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