Removal of physics class sparks concern for some McFarland students

February 21, 2024 /

By: Alejandro Gonzalez

While McFarland High School (MHS) offers many opportunities with their Bakersfield College courses, they also removed classes that give students equal opportunities such as a physics class. This leaves most students asking the same question, why? 

Talking with the staff of MHS has led to answering this question. There may be multiple key factors in this decision, and the same two arguments have been brought up, the lack of students in this class and the MHS dual enrollment program. 

McFarland High School had offered physics classes for many years but recently had a lack of students interested in the subject. 

“The most interest we’ve had for physics the last two years has been seven students one fall semester,” said Dario Diaz, the Principal of MHS. 

Students would rather take a different class for their third year than choose physics. This is confusing as physics plays a key role in all of science yet no one seems interested in the slightest. Learning physics in high school has many benefits. It helps students understand how things in the world work around us such as the functions of machinery. It can also strengthen a student’s foundation for future studies and careers in science such as technology and engineering.

The Dual Enrollment program offers students a chance to take college classes during high school and graduate with an associate degree. This not only made a big impact on the removal of physics but also the removal of other classes with little to no student interest. 

“Our top students that would have maybe chosen to take physics were now required to take the Bakersfield College Soils B1 class along with 18 other BC Courses,” said Daniel Diaz, MHS counselor. “3 BC classes equals 9 college credits per semester.” 

The mixture of classes with few students combined with the new college courses put stress on the administration. 

“So you have students that are full-time high school students plus are almost also full-time college students. That is a heavy burden to undertake and so going forward, Physics is no longer on our radar,” said Daniel Diaz.

With all this information, what was the reaction to this decision? Well, it wasn’t a big farewell party to it, but it still affected the little few who were interested. 

“Well, there were some students that expressed concern,” said Thaddeus Aweeka. 

Aweeka was the physics and chemistry teacher is McFarland, but since the removal, he now just teaches chemistry. 

When asked what are the negatives of not learning physics in high school, he responded by saying that most kids who end up in a UC College of Engineering had taken a physics class during high school. 

“I do know one student who didn’t take physics who went into a college of engineering and sadly he ended up dropping out,” he added. We also asked for his thoughts on the decision to remove physics, and Thaddeus responded by saying, “I think it is unfortunate for the students. I feel like I love my chemistry curriculum so I am grateful I have that, but I miss the physics curriculum.”

The removal of physics was a decision made based on the lack of interest of students but also relieved the stress brought on by the administration. This allowed the school to have more focus on the dual enrollment program and bring better opportunities for the students.

As things change at McFarland High School, finding the right mix of adjustments is crucial. We need to make sure these changes keep opening doors for students and offering them a solid education for the road ahead.