4×4 Game Plan

Jessica Allman, Staff Writer

The 4×4 plan was passed in 2007 meaning that this year’s seniors will be the first to graduate under its requirements. With the 4×4 plan all students must take four years of math, science, English and history, and many students find it hard to make room for elective classes.

“I’ve had a lot of scheduling conflicts,” junior Kristen Whittaker said. “I think all of the mandatory classes are just too much to handle.”

Not only are the four main subjects required all four years, but electives such as foreign language, health, P.E., Communication Applications, a computer class, and a fine arts class are required as well.

“A lot of people don’t like to draw or don’t have artistic abilities,” Whittaker said. “I don’t see why we should be forced to take art or a computer class when we could be taking a class that has to do with the career we want to have. Unless you want to be an artist, actor, singer, or a dancer, the need for a fine arts credit isn’t helping you.”

Some students feel that the required electives are helpful and will assist them in the future.

“Elective classes like Desktop Publishing or Digital Interactive Media are relevant,” senior Christian Wang said. “They give us an adequate understanding of how computer systems work, which is an important skill to have in the real world.”

Before the 4×4 plan, students were not required to take four full years of math and science. Of the students that graduated from Texas schools and attended college, approximately 30 percent required remedial courses in those subjects.

“TEA passed the law three years ago,” Associate Principal of Curriculum Tracy Franco said. “They made the plan because colleges felt like students weren’t prepared when they got to college.”

The plan is intended to help students be more successful in college, but to some students the plan is just bringing unwanted tension to their busy lives.

“Having to take all of the required classes is stressful,” junior Cody Ball said. “I understand the point of it, but I think I would enjoy school more if I had more of a choice in the classes I wanted to take.”

If some of the mandatory classes were optional, students would have more room in their schedules to take classes they have interest in.

“I really want to be a nurse,” Whittaker said. “I would have really liked to be in clinical rotations, but to be in that you have to take medical science first. I just didn’t have enough room in my schedule between my core classes and electives. It’s ridiculous.”

Having to take higher level math and science classes affects student’s grades. Not all students believe that the 4×4 plan is benefiting them.

“I don’t think having to take classes like pre cal or physics should be necessary for us to graduate,” Whittaker said. “I don’t plan on being an engineer or doing anything that has to do with the complicated things we learn in physics and pre cal. It doesn’t benefit me if I only fail when I’m trying my hardest. It drags me down instead of building me up.”

Some students have a different mentality towards the situation, and believe that having to take these required classes is in their best interest.

“Mandatory classes are there because in the future were going to have to apply those skills to life,” senior Christian Wang said. “America needs more people that understand how to do jobs relating to science and math field. This plan is helping us, but some students just focus on the negative aspects of it. If we have mandatory education, America will all together be a lot more successful in the future. ”