State harms students with relaxed social studies rules


Austin Rutledge, Staff Writer

Many juniors dream of having a “laid back” senior year, enjoying multiple off-periods and off-campus lunch after years of toil.

However, some of these students are having their dreams crushed when they find out from their counselor that they don’t have enough social studies credits to be accepted to the college of their choice.

Students ran into this problem because Social Emotional Learning (SEL) courses were required of Akins freshmen in place of the typical World Geography course.

This means that many students end up behind on their credits.

I believe that world geography should be required for freshman permanently and is not to be skipped in any year because social studies skills should be taught.

What might you not know?

Many students on campus who have aspirations of going to college, may not know high school requirements for graduation are not the same for college entry requirements.

College Readiness Counselor Christine Kesling recommends all students research what colleges they want to go to and do some research on which colleges they’re interested in and review the acceptance requirements when deciding what classes they need to take in high school.

For example, Texas State University requires three credits of social studies while the University of Texas at Austin requires three Social Studies credits but four are recommended. And because the college admission process is extremely competitive, Kesling recommends that students do as much as they can academically to make their application stand out.

Students who want to meet the four credit social studies recommendation should talk to their counselors. It’s important that these conversations start happening with incoming freshmen because that is the year that has most recently been affected by a change in the state graduation requirements.

The history

In 2014, the State Board of Education reduced the number of social studies credits required to graduate, making World Geography an optional course. During the 2014-2015 school year, Akins stopped automatically placing freshmen in World Geography, opting to place freshmen in supplemental reading or leadership skills classes.

Since then, Akins students have taken electives to earn a fourth social studies credit such as psychology, sociology or ethnic studies. World geography is still offered as an elective, as well.

Social studies teacher Greg Izor said he thought the state board of education’s change eliminating world geography as a required class was “stupid.”

The importance

”I think (world geography) is extremely important,” he said. “It really sets a spatial stage for the history classes but also, more importantly, is a place where you learn really broad themes like the importance of resources and conflict over resources and accessibility to water and trade. And it’s the backdrop for everything that’s going on in the world right now.”

This is a problem because it is causing students to scramble their junior/senior year to make up those credits, adding more stress for the students. Counselors have an overload of students so making time for students could be hard because of the number of students each counselor is responsible for.

I believe the state should make world geography classes mandatory because it will help schools like Akins align their course requirements with what colleges recommend.

Bring back World Geography

I believe the state should make world geography classes mandatory because it will help schools like Akins align their course requirements with what colleges recommend.

Besides the college admissions aspect, not requiring four years of social studies credits only cheats out students on their education because they do not receive a full picture of what’s going on in the world.

Senior Ben Dobbs expresses his thoughts on if Akins should make all four years or Social Studies mandatory.

“If it became a requirement, I feel that some students wouldn’t like it,” he said. I’m personally all for it. It makes college entry a lot easier and I feel like you want to try and get students into college then you would try to (meet) their standards. You would want to make sure that the entry will be a seamless process as possible. You do not want to have any roadblocks because we didn’t have to take another (social studies) class.”