The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Please help us cover our annual website operations cost! The Jackson-Reed Beacon is a fully independent, student run newspaper that receives all of its operational costs from generous donations.

Should we have additional required classes?

To graduate from Jackson-Reed, a series of classes are required by the District with the intent of preparing students for success. However, the current required courses do not prepare students for real world responsibilities. Why is it that we spend so much time on algebra, yet never learn the basics about handling finances or even simple survival skills?

The JR high school curriculum includes essential core classes such as English which teaches useful language skills. Additionally, the vast list of electives and academies helps students hone in on our interests and find communities and activities within the school. This gives us potential paths to travel along and can help us on our journey to successful futures. However, this foundation isn’t enough.

The complexity that JR classes provide is almost too much. We seem to be missing what is “inside the box,” and fail to provide the growing need for simplicity. Essentially, there is a set of basic skills that humans should have and that schools should idealistically teach.

The first is a simple First Aid Class. Living in a chaotic world where incidents and emergencies can occur at any point in time, the necessity of being able to respond quickly and effectively may result in the difference between life and death. By integrating education on CPR and basic First Aid into our school system, students would be provided with one of the most important skills to know. These skills would follow us for the rest of our lives, providing a sense of safety and security and promoting wellbeing.

While the Biomedical Science Academy puts CPR as a requirement in the Academy, this only leaves a small portion of our school with this vital resource. This seems like an unreasonable expectation, and shouldn’t be linked solely to a difficult course most students aren’t interested in taking. CPR should not be an incentivized element of learning Biomedical Science, but rather an expectation to set anyone up for success in the real world. 

Another vital addition to the curriculum could be a finance class. While Jackson-Reed does have a Finance Academy, the school lacks a simple course open to everyone. Learning how to manage one’s money, make smart financial decisions, and do taxes are important to one’s success later in life. Students should be allowed to grasp the concept before being thrown into the real world where they are expected to know how to do their W-42s.

There are numerous reasons why schools decide against teaching about taxes. Variables depending on one’s income and overall financial situation can change the process make it harder for schools to teach a general course (although it has been done in 25 US states). Understandably, creating a curriculum for a “Personal Finance” class is daunting, yet it’s unacceptable that schools don’t help students develop financial literacy. 

Throughout our high school careers, curriculums aim to prepare us for our SATs and provide our minds with information that doesn’t generally extend past college. In reality, the education system should work to teach skills that will be used outside of tests, without the commitment of an Academy. 

Integrating courses that are made to equip students with the necessary skills would make an extremely positive impact on our futures. Needless to say, we believe a change is needed. DCPS should recognize these minimal, but impactful changes, in the interest of their students.

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