In school, I learned to read, write, etc. The basics stuck with me, which I feel that makes elementary school a mandatory need.
Middle school is where they introduced me to history and science as special study areas. I passed history with 110% and science with 93%. All I remember is that the black plague was caused by rats and that scalpels are sharp.
With that being said, it was useless information to me and I don't feel that unless you plan to get a career in those areas, that they shouldn't be mandatory. History can teach us a lot, but there is so many things that we don't need to learn. Give us the main points and be done with it.
In middle school, I learned that woodshop, home economics, and art class was taken out because it was deemed "not necessary"...
...those were 3 classes that I would have loved. They would each have been more beneficial to me that science or history.
In highschool. Chemistry, statistics, advanced algebra, algebra 2, calculus, Spanish, biology, and earth science did me no good. I was good at math, now I remember maybe 10% of it. With a good portion of those being mandatory, it made it hard to focus on the subjects that I did good in or was interested in.
P.E., was graded as so. If you dressed in shorts of the school color and a t shirt, you get a "C". Period. Next, you get a "B" if you do that, and show up. You get an "A" if you participate. That did not teach me one thing, other than when you run a mile, don't sprint the first 2 laps.
Art class taught me what a medium is, shading, and color balance... Which I figured out on my own before I was 8. If applied right, art would be a great class. Instead, you get taught terms and stuff that doesn't make you a good artist. A good artist is made through practice.
Lastly, a vast majority of how effective the learning process is, is how it is presented. If you are a visual learner, you learn from seeing it done. Not reading a book. The teachers should be more into the subject that they are teaching. I had a chemistry teacher that blew stuff up every other day, kissed roaches, and had a real dino skeleton in his class. This guy was freaking cool, and he made it fun. That's how you learn. My Algebra 2 teacher played metal solos on his guitar during class and his lecture on vectors... Was about the gun "Vector" from CoD MW2.
The way the government thinks school should be ran is dead wrong.
This is exactly how I think of it.
They should focus on people retaining the information you give them, Not just giving it out.
It's a fact that people remember things better if they have a strong memory tied to it, That is why people often make up songs to remember things.
If teachers focused on retention, And making things fun, Then people would not only like school better, But they would actually learn things.
As for what you said about history, I disagree with teaching the main points.
By this I don't mean teach all of human history, I mean to teach the parts of history that you can learn from, And teach it right.
Especially teach the history that can be prevented from happening again.
We don't want more bloody civil wars, Do we?
You know the saying, If you don't learn from history, You're doomed to repeat it.