Every SHS Student Should be Required to Take a Business Class

Should the SHS fines arts requirement be adjusted?

Every SHS Student Should be Required to Take a Business Class

Ammon Drosdik, Contributing Writer

There has been an ongoing debate at Scituate High School regarding which classes should be required, and the thing that gets talked about all the time is the fine arts requirement. Should we eliminate or adjust it? Should we do more? 

At the high school level, all students are required to take two art classes to graduate. Some students get them done during their freshman year, and some students scramble during their senior year. But what if there wasn’t a fine arts requirement? Instead, maybe students could take the elective classes they want to take. Or what if there was a business requirement? Instead of learning how to make pots out of clay, maybe students should be required to take Investing and Personal Finance, a class offered at the high school that is quite popular.

When Greg Ranieri, the department chair for business, PE, and health, was asked about this idea, he replied, “While I love teaching business education, I feel all disciplines, including the fine arts, are essential to developing well-rounded adolescents/graduates.” He went on to say, “I feel it is important for students to engage with an array of academic areas ranging from physics to personal finance to fine arts to physical education.  It broadens adolescence with diverse content knowledge and skills that grow them and stretch them in important developmental ways.”

When asked to share their opinion of the current fine arts requirement, student responses at SHS were mixed.

Junior Luke Bossey commented, “I personally like that the fine arts requirement is necessary at SHS, not only that it allows you to show your creative side, but it is a good way to let the students relax by allowing them to do make clay cups with Ms. Pace or go play piano with Mr. Richter.”

Freshman Amari Mendes didn’t feel the same way. When I asked him if he likes the fine arts requirement, he responded, “I don’t like it–it’s unfair for people who don’t like art. I think we should have more variation.”

With that being said, there should be an alternative that works for everybody, either directly or indirectly, and that’s personal finance. More specifically, personal finance classes should be required at Scituate High School. According to Forbes magazine, many Americans agree with me: 30% of people in the US say financial education should start in elementary school, 33% believe it should start in middle school, and 32% believe it should start in high school, while only 5% say it should start in college. Scituate is no different, so what’s the hold-up?

In fact, money affects every facet of our daily lives: you have to pay bills, you have to pay to buy groceries, and you have to pay off debts. Money is everywhere. Not learning how to manage money can have terrible consequences. According to Forbes, nearly 50% of Americans don’t have $400 of cash available. If they have an emergency, or they just want to treat themselves, most people can’t afford it. Millennials combined have $1.52 billion in debt, and Americans, on average, owe $16,048 with an APR of 16.47%, according to Forbes. 

Of course, not everybody is on board with eliminating or reducing the fine arts requirement, but there is a potential for compromise. What if SHS students were required to take one fine arts class and one business class? This adjustment to graduation requirements might meet everybody’s needs and interests and develop well-rounded students, which is the purpose of the fine arts requirement. 

If the goal is to graduate students who are ready for life beyond high school, I urge the SHS administration to consider my proposal.