In every school there is bound to be conflict over course offerings. Some classes fill too quickly and leave students on the outside looking in while others do not fill at all, resulting in unfortunate cancellations. At a school as large as San Gabriel High School, it is impossible to meet everyone’s demands. In spite of that, it is the responsibility of the school to provide its students the best educational opportunities within its means. Through the cancellation of the teacher’s aides (TA) program and the limitation of seniors’ ability to take more than one math class, the school has failed to deliver on its duty to students and teachers.
Under California law AB-1012, Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) was forced to eliminate any non-educational courses from its curriculum, leading to the end of the TA program and the implementation of a new Office Occupation class which adheres to state guidelines. While this replacement still gives students the opportunity to experience a work-like environment, it results in overburdened teachers who now have to take on tasks traditionally done by their TA’s. Additionally, the new Office Occupation program does not offer an efficient way for teachers to get assistance from students and limits their ability to focus on their primary job: teaching. In trying to help students maximize their educational time, this policy indirectly affects the quality of education that students receive.
Not all missteps stemmed from state law, however. For this academic year, seniors were restricted from taking more than one math class, a decision that runs counter to policy of years past. Traditionally, many high achieving, STEM focused students would enroll in multiple math classes to expand their knowledge of a field they enjoyed. This new policy unfairly limits the academic opportunities available to other students who are both willing to and capable of taking two rigorous mathematical courses. Again, in trying to provide the best for its students, the school has only managed to ostracize some of the most mathematically ambitous ones.
In fairness to the school, there have been some innovative class implementations with the introduction of Get Focused Stay Focused for freshmen and Math Computer Programming for upperclassmen. As a whole, however, the class conflicts have resulted in overexerted teachers and academically limited students. The district should not have replaced the TA course with a program that insufficiently covers the needs of the teachers. Furthermore, the school should not have limited the school’s top performing students from reaching their maximum potential. It is clear that in the future, more appropriate measures should be taken. This includes reintroducing supplemental aid to the teachers—be it through students or additional employees—and removing the math class cap on seniors. Through these changes, the school can begin to better deliver on its commitment to its students and teachers.