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Columnist
The full list of U-46 courses up for elimination
By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 1/8/2010 12:00 AM

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I wrote a story earlier this week about Elgin Area School District U-46 board considering adding three high school courses - Mandarin, AP psychology, and computer integrated manufacturing - while eliminating 27 other less popular or defunct classes.

While details on the proposed three new courses were easy to spell out in Tuesday's paper, those on the "cut list" had to be generalized by subject - some math, bilingual program, business, fashion and consumer science, industrial technology, health occupations and social studies courses, because of available space in the paper.

The intention was never to make teachers sweat unnecessarily, by guessing where their class might be under consideration for elimination. Today, with more space, I wanted to provide that full list:

• Consumer math

• English Language Learners' study skills, English Language Learners' literacy support

• Consumer Business, Financial Management, Business Law, Office Practice

• Teen Living, Fashion Merchandising 1-2

• Costume Design (Larkin High School only), Honors Costume Design (Larkin High School only)

• Independent Living

• Introduction to Electricity, Pre-engineering, Honors Pre-engineering

• Intro to building trades, Architectural CAD

• Mechanical CAD, Honors Mechanical CAD

• Honors Health Occupations, Exploring the future of health care

• Career Planning, Anthropology

• Today's problems, Current World Problems

According to district officials, the courses were selected for elimination because they are either being combined with other courses, do not count toward state graduation requirements, or do not feature a rigorous enough curriculum. With the same number of students simply taking different courses, staffing levels are not expected to decrease, district officials have said.

Mandarin, more advanced psychology and manufacturing are all exciting options for U-46 high schoolers. In adding the new courses, and eliminating the others, however, district officials must keep the best interests of teachers and students at heart. A wide variety of elective choices are vital. Students must have the opportunity to get a taste of a number of different trades and professions - so they can later commit to their passions on their paths after graduation.

• Kerry Lester covers Elgin Area School District U-46, Elgin Community College and private schools in Elgin. E-mail her at klester@dailyherald.com.