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Would the following question be on or off-topic for MSE?

I attended 4 middle schools and 3 high schools in the U.S, and I am considering teaching math. Nowhere have I seen where the "math club" was considered an elective; instead of a class which a student can take for credit, it is an after-school extra-curricular. If I were to teach math, I would try to change this. I would like to ask what justifies why some non-academic courses (e.g. band, art, phys ed) are so much more popular and can be taken for credit, whereas the math club is nowhere near as popular and doesn't count as credit. Also, if anyone can provide a counter-example of a high-school where ordinarily extra-curricular mathematics does count for credit, then that's an acceptable answer as well.

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    $\begingroup$ The question seems fine to me. But let me just say that the focusing on "credit" seems a little off-center from my experiences with American high schools (namely, as an American high school student!): unlike college/university, there is not a real "credit" system in high school, in the sense that some total number of credits is necessary and close to sufficient for graduation. Rather it's a four year affair, and in every given year in order to get "promoted" you have to pass most of a set of required courses. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 17 '13 at 5:37
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    $\begingroup$ In some high schools there are things which amount to "required extra-curriculars", and maybe you are asking why non-academic things count for this and academic things don't. But that seems like a pretty defensible position to me: after all, there are already plenty of required academics, so if one wants students to do something extra-curricular then one may want them to do something actually non-academic, e.g. arts/music/sports. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 17 '13 at 5:39
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    $\begingroup$ But the question of whether / why high school math clubs are not more popular (and they really aren't; e.g. I was not involved in a high school math club, even though for most of my high school career I thought -- correctly, as it turns out -- that I wanted to be a mathematician), and how to make them so seems like a good one. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 17 '13 at 5:40
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    $\begingroup$ @PeteL.Clark: I'm currently a student in an American high school, and in the school system I attend, there is indeed a credit system in which a certain number and distribution of course credits are required to graduate. $\endgroup$ – David Zhang Aug 17 '13 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ @David: okay, that's good to know. Of course I should have known better than to claim that all American high schools work the same way as the one high school I attended, or the public school district in which it was part. But my point though is that in my experience most high school students are not "looking for extra credit", nor are they graduating early if they amass a lot of credit. Excepting some truly extreme performances and circumstances, it's generally a four-year affair. Right? $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 18 '13 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ @PeteL.Clark: Yes, you have got it right there; it is almost always four-year. In the school system I attend, the standard schedule includes seven class periods per day. You get seven course credits per year, and you need 22 to graduate. $\endgroup$ – David Zhang Aug 18 '13 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ @PeteL.Clark - My high school had a credit system. It took 4 years of a few subjects, and 3 years of others. As a senior, I was called into the guidance counselor's office, he asked why I was taking 2 math classes when I already took 4 in the first three years. "Because I can?" was my reply. I could have coasted, but that wasn't my style. $\endgroup$ – JTP - Apologise to Monica Nov 20 '13 at 19:18
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My first impression was that it might be better on Academia SE, but after some thought I think it's on topic. I would use the and tags, padded with just to be safe.

By the way, I think the Schilling School offers elective credit for math club (or if they don't already, they would upon request).

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    $\begingroup$ With that counterexample and some further thought, it's likely that classes offered according to what voters and legislation demands. Students or their parents now can choose modern schools like Rocketship or possibly charter schools which have more freedom over the curriculum. $\endgroup$ – T. Webster Aug 18 '13 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ @T. Webster: Indeed, there are so many high schools in the US -- especially, private high schools who can do close to whatever they want -- that it is probably not optimal to focus on the issue of "Are there examples where math club gets you official credit towards graduation?" Probably you want to think about how to encourage math club participation across a broad range of high schools...right? $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 18 '13 at 6:47

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