Patty wrote," think the whole AP program, across the board, has become a
facade and prestige notion for districts and parents. The districts like to
brag about what they offer and the parents want to think that they are going
to save a buck. In the middle are kids being pressured to take more and
more of these classes and being severely stressed by the demands. And the
weighted grade. In our district an AP "A" equals 4.8 as opposed to an
honors "A" equaling 4.5 and a non-weighted class at 4.0. We are in the
process of changing this "numbers game" which deters kids from taking
non-weighted electives because it actually hurts their GPA. "
This is so true! My superintendent has delighted in touting the fact that he
has increased the number of AP offerings and students enrolled. He has
decreed that my school must offer 13 AP courses next year and 17 the year
after that. We are a relatively small school of under 1000 and the school
population as a whole is not particularly motivated to continue with college
educations. Some of our kids are pushed into 4 and 5 AP courses and then get
stressed out by spring. Many of my best students have been lost to my upper
level courses because they are taking AP other things. In addition to this,
we are all worried that, in order to keep enough numbers enrolled to
maintain 13 courses, the courses will be watered down and the AP test scores
will be down. We don't even have the "carrot" of the cost of the tests to
motivate the kids-our system pays $1 million/year to foot the bill for them.
Our AP courses give 6 pts. for an A!
I always recommend to a kid going to art school that he/she take the basic
intro courses anyway to get a handle on the outlook of the school and learn
the methods of the professors. I agree that a high school program, no matter
how good, can take the place of a university or art school course.
I am waiting to see what happens next fall. We "offered" AP studio art, but
I had only one sign up for it. In theory, it takes 15 to "make" a class. I
am betting that, in order to say we have 13 classes, I will have this one
student stuck in with another level.
Good luck to all of us. Have a great summer, everyone! Linda in NC