Graduation Requirements: arbitrary and unnecessary

Aaron Gindi, Contributing Writer

It is your senior year and you have completed almost four years of high school, including countless exams, SATs, and health classes. One day, you get a letter and find out that you cannot graduate because you never took an art class.
In the 21st century, high school diplomas are essential for almost every job imaginable. So, why is it so complicated to get one? To attain this vital documentation from Schreiber, a student needs 22.5 total credits: four in social studies and English, three for math and science, one for health, one arts class, one foreign language, two for physical education, and three and a half credits of electives.
Additionally, you need to pass an array of standardized tests, including Regents and the Foreign Language Assocation of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS) exam. This may seem like a huge task, but this is only because it is filled with arbitrary requirements.
It is pointless for an arts class to be its own category; it should be merged with electives as a whole. While many students take exclusively art electives, some prefer social studies, STEM, or FACS electives.
“Art should not be a requirement. Some people just are not artistic,” said junior Matt Johnston.
Students should not be forced to take an artistic elective if they are more interested in another area of study. We should not eliminate artistic electives because they are a spectacular opportunity for Schreiber students to express and enjoy themselves. However, it should not
be a graduation requirement. In college, a student would never be required to take a certain creative course unless that is the major they wish to pursue. If this system is successful in higher education, it should also work at Schreiber.
The other arbitrary graduation requirement is something that affects every Schreiber student: standardized testing. In order to graduate with a Regents diploma, the most basic diploma for the majority of Schreiber students, one needs to pass five Regents exams: the Global History and Geography exam, the Integrated Algebra exam, the US History exam, the English Language Arts exam, and any Regents Science exam. For an Advanced Regents Diploma, it gets far more complicated.
There are seven additional tests to pass, as well as a confusing matrix of extra credits for the Arts, Career
Technological Education, or a language and corresponding (and notoriously disliked) FLACS exam.
Diplomas are one of the most important reasons to attend high school. A diploma is not simply a benefit at most job interviews, but an expectation. However, we rarely think about how we are going to attain it.
Our guidance counselors do a great job of making sure that we get there, but we still feel the effects of their decisions, most noticeably in the classes that we take. Some students are forced to deviate from their interests because they need to fulfill an arbitrary requirement or because they are afraid of a standardized test at the end. This is unnecessary; the process should be streamlined to take away one more stress from the already tumultuous four years of high school.